Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What's the Difference When You See Kawartha Total Foot Care Centre for Orthotics?

Would you see your optometrist for a cavity? It would be like seeing your dentist for a broken arm or your chiropodist/podiatrist for a spinal chiropractic manipulation. It makes no sense. The expertise and training is completely mismatched.

Yet, when it comes to treating foot pain, particularly in the case of prescription custom orthotics, people often see providers who claim to treat feet but are not regulated foot specialists. To be clear, the only legally regulated foot specialists in Ontario are members of the College of Chiropodists of Ontario – chiropodists/podiatrists. All other providers’ primary areas of expertise may be things like spine and joint manipulations, physical therapy, massage therapy, or unregulated retailers, all for whom orthotics are only a sideline business.

Orthotics are (or at least they should be) precision medical devices that have a profound and lasting impact on your feet and body. Does it make sense, then, to see anyone except your foot specialist… a chiropodist/podiatrist?

Here are four areas that set chiropodists/podiatrists apart:

  1. Training: Chiropodists receive four years of comprehensive education in diagnosing and treating all foot pain and problems, which includes exhaustive study in biomechanics, gait analysis, and prescription custom orthotics. Other providers typically receive from ½ day to two weeks of training in orthotics. Frighteningly, some receive no training at all.

  1. Breadth of practice: Chiropodists/podiatrists are not an orthotics “one trick pony.” They prescribe a set of orthotics only after taking into consideration your complete foot health and determining which approach or combination of podiatric medical approaches will relieve your pain and problems most quickly, effectively, and inexpensively over the long term.

  1. Technique: Chiropodists/podiatrists use an approach that is considered to be the medical gold standard called “suspended sub-talar joint neutral.” This is accomplished using a plaster cast or highly-precise three-dimensional computer imaging along with the chiropodist’s/podiatrist’s calculations and specifications to manufacture the orthotics in a certified laboratory to rigorous industry-recognized standards for excellence and durability. Remember, three-dimensional imaging is VERY different from the step on computer pads, foam boxes, or other gimmicks and shortcuts to create orthotics. Think about it. A computer pad, for example, takes an image of your foot to create an orthotic in precisely the unhealthy weight-bearing position that is causing your pain or problem. Also, the image taken by the computer pad is extremely limited in that it’s only two dimensional – measuring just length and width – while your feet are most certainly three dimensional! Also, common sense applies here. If this approach used by the chiropodists/podiatrists takes four years to learn and perfect, it only stands to reason that there must be a substantial difference over the approach that was learned in a matter of days or hours. 
    Apart from the “flashy” marketing value, the benefit to users of gimmicks and shortcuts is that they require very little training to learn or use and are far more profitable. However, what the unsuspecting public may be purchasing is no more than an expensive arch support or a faulty device that is not suited to correcting their particular foot condition.

  1. Regulation: Orthotics in Canada are not regulated. This means that anyone – despite their lack of qualifications – can post a sign and begin providing orthotics. This said, Chiropodists/podiatrists are legally regulated through the Chiropody Act by the College of Chiropodists of Ontario. Theirs is the only regulated body to specify standards for quality, care, and technique when it comes to orthotics.

In the end, it is a case of “buyer beware.” Before investing your hard earned money on a new or replacement set of orthotics, it is well worth seeking the advice of a chiropodist, even if for a second opinion. It’s a “step” your feet may thank you for taking.

For more information on your good foot health, you can always visit the Kawartha Total Foot Care Centre web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment