article archive

April 2006

Orthotics as chiropractic wellness care

by Dr. Terry A. Rondberg

According to the most comprehensive professional surveys, more than 80% of the profession views chiropractic as a health care discipline that focuses on the detection and correction of subluxations. Most of these would also no doubt agree that chiropractic can be a vital part of a wellness maintenance routine.

Yet, relatively few recommend orthotics to their patients, despite the fact that there is a great deal of evidence supporting orthotics as a prime method to correct postural alignment problems that lead to subluxations.

While subluxations can have many causes (many of which you can not determine with complete accuracy or correct) you, as a doctor of chiropractic, can help prevent those subluxations caused in part or in whole, by an unbalanced gait.

According to Mark Charrette, DC, a recognized expert in spinal and extremity adjusting, "There is a fine interplay between the movements of the lower extremities and the balancing of the spine. Normal gait causes repetitive motions to occur from the feet up to the head. Alignment and function of the pelvis, spine, shoulders, and head are strongly influenced by pedal balance or imbalance... Because a smooth and symmetrical gait is tied so closely to proper vertebral function, biomechanical problems in one or both feet can interfere with postural alignment patterns."

In 1994, Terry Yocum, DC, reported in Practical Research Studies, that at least 75% of the population has some degree of leg length inequality that can lead to excessive foot pronation. This, in turn, can lead to gait imbalance and ultimately cause subluxations.

While it's perfectly legal and acceptable to restrict one's practice to the correction of vertebral subluxation by spinal adjusting, many chiropractors choose to look at the problem of vertebral subluxation from a more holistic point of view.

For patients in whom the root cause of subluxation is diet, DCs may wish to acquire additional training and expertise in nutritional supplementation that can benefit those patients. If the subluxations can be traced back to a lack of strength training in relationship to certain athletic endeavors, the doctors may want to add exercise rehab equipment to their practice. And, if the subluxations are being caused by postural alignment problems, they may opt to work with a company like Foot Levelers to offer solutions to those problems.

Chiropractors need to determine the necessity of orthotic support, particularly among those patients who seem less successful at holding their adjustments, and they need to help patients obtain high‑quality orthotics that can help correct postural problems.

There are several excellent tools to help a DC make that determination quickly and easily, without expensive or complicated adjuncts to his or her practice. The Foot Levelers system, for instance, provides complete instruction in gait analysis. If the DC decides orthotics are needed, the system involves merely having the patient step into a casting kit containing soft foam that captures an exact impression of his or her feet, in the standing position.

Using Foot Levelers guidelines, you determine which style of orthotics is appropriate, and send the casting kit to the laboratory where the orthotics are created.

The lab sends the custom‑made orthotics to your office, and ‑‑ during a follow‑up appointment ‑‑ you show the patient how to wear them properly and how to take care of them, again using the Foot Levelers guidelines and materials.

For doctors, Foot Levelers has meant not only being able to provide better care to patients, but an increase in practice size and income, thanks to referrals from satisfied patients. Regardless of the type of practice or the techniques used, the ability to offer the unique Foot Levelers orthotics can give DCs a valuable edge on the competition.

For more information on orthotics as a way to reinforce subluxation corrective care, call 800‑553‑4860 or visit the Foot Levelers website,

(Dr. Terry Rondberg is president of the World Chiropractic Alliance and publisher of The Chiropractic Journal and the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research. A popular speaker at chiropractic conferences and seminars, Dr. Rondberg is also a frequent guest on TV and radio shows. He has written numerous articles on chiropractic for the profession and the public, as well as several best‑selling books, including "Chiropractic First," "Under the Influence of Modern Medicine," and, with Timothy J. Feuling, the "CBS Malpractice Prevention Program," and "Chiropractic: Compassion and Expectation.")