Can a chiropractor help with foot pain? You’re the most sophisticated doctor in your town, but are you utilizing technology…
DECIDING WHAT INNOVATIONS TO BRING INTO YOUR PRACTICE CAN BE TRICKY. New technology can provide a platform for growth or distract you from higher priorities. When you find the right tools to support your time-tested principles and techniques, the result can be rewarding on multiple levels. Innovation has brought many options to both doctors and patients, creating a congested wellness marketplace. Can a chiropractor help with foot pain? Yes, and through the discerning view of the chiropractor, patients can be guided toward better posture and foot care decisions.
The posture epidemic
For patients, overuse of technology (time on computers, tablets and smartphones, especially while sitting!) has created a posture epidemic. It is particularly important for chiropractors to correct any spine-related issues as they undermine essential functions like balance and breathing.
One of the most common causes of poor posture is bilateral asymmetrical pronation patterns of the feet, which contribute to chronic pelvic tilt and anterior head carriage among other issues. In addition to spinal adjustments, restoring healthy posture starting at the feet has become a new standard of care in chiropractic. It’s established how pronation affects the entire body, so how are you addressing it?
Historically, these weight-bearing foot patterns have been captured by chiropractors with foam casting kits. Today, along with our exam and X-rays, digital scanning is also available with more features to support care. Technology can improve this process for doctors and create even more value for patients.
How scanning for custom orthotics enhances patient care
Chiropractors everywhere address spine issues related to overpronation and need more efficient ways to address it in support of their chiropractic adjustments. When done correctly, custom functional orthotics improve patient outcomes through prevention of these common misalignment patterns and by helping to maintain adjustments while improving overall patient satisfaction.
Pronation can undermine even the best chiropractic care, limiting a patient’s potential. The skill that we put into specific corrective adjustments should be matched by sophisticated technology that complements your care and extends your reach.
Can a chiropractor help with foot pain? The foot scanning advantage…
One hundred percent of my patients get scanned in their initial exam. It’s built into my protocol. Patients find it interesting and most learn something from it immediately.
Interactive conversations between care providers and their patients happen naturally when you are scanning. Most people don’t know what “optimal” feet look like. Seeing their own scan and pronation rating on the screen against an image of an optimal foot gives them a visual reference that’s easy to understand and provides a solid answer to the patient question, “Can a chiropractor help with foot pain?”
Being able to review detailed images and balance data in the report of findings with patients is a critical step that helps support behavioral change. It enhances the education process — patients can look at the readings and photos and see the difference. The colorful videos and images they see right at the time of their foot function assessment help them make the connection. They look forward to tracking their improvement.
Digital scanning empowers the patient by allowing them to input their own answers to prompts, making them active participants in their care. This can help increase compliance and build a feeling of partnership with their doctor in proactive health.
Helping patient understand the role of foot stabilization
Casting kits and digital scanners can both be used for designing the same customized functional orthotics. It’s the process through scanning that not only streamlines orthotic production, but also the patient education opportunities and value added to the report of findings.
When we have patients perform a visual analysis of their foot scans, they can learn to see the imbalances themselves and be empowered to improve. Through education you meet them at their level, and we know it’s more valuable to teach than to tell.
Establish yourself as the ‘go-to’ expert on foot stabilization in your community
Advanced scanners give doctors and patients access to exclusive three-arch technology that better complements the specificity that goes into chiropractic adjustments of the spine and extremities, resulting in two deviations above the average standard of foot care.
Today’s patient demands empowerment and transparency of health care information that the technology and scanner report automate.
Enhancing patient communication and saving time
The spine-centric chiropractic perspective has been considered at every stage of the scanning process, allowing doctors to seamlessly integrate and trust it as a powerful patient education tool. Going to digital scanning has made the learning process better, as this tool puts patients first and stimulates conversation that was not occurring prior.
Innovation should streamline a standard process, then add to its established value. The information from casting kits used to be weeks away, but scanning is now at the fingertips of both doctors and patients in real time, creating a new standard of service. The analysis is built right in, so I can interpret it to my patient right away, enhancing their care experience.
This technology is faster than any other diagnostics, even my own exams. Scanning also means that by their second or third visit, my patient’s orthotics have arrived and can be put to use. Sometimes nothing can compare to a patient feeling the difference in how they walk in, compared to what it’s like to walk out adjusted and supported.
The value of digital scanning to doctors
The core principles and language of chiropractors are built into the system and designed to enhance patient communication. The messaging and imagery is already in alignment with chiropractic. That’s part of why it’s already been so widely used within the chiropractic community.
As chiropractors, gravity and balance are the foundation of our care. As innovators in health, we constantly ask ourselves if we’re taking the standards of care higher. By helping prevent spine-related issues which cause low-back pain that originate with unhealthy foot function, we are elevating our treatment. Technology is the key to practicing at a different level.
The scanning technology streamlines an essential function of the chiropractor — optimizing balance. Asymmetry may be common, but what’s not predictable is the degree of pronation from left to right. I use the technology in my evidence-based care to show foundational differences that affect balance and stability. Technology and evaluation tools need to shift into monitoring function — day in, day out. Patients need more regular screening and monitoring as part of routine care and the scanner instantly becomes a leader in it.
It is essential to offer patients a custom, specific product in your orthotics vs. what may be the easiest thing, which is not personalized for that patient’s needs (off-the-shelf insoles). When technology can help you capture essential functions of the body in the same way that the brain prioritizes them, health care focus is kept in check and patient accountability and compliance are improved.
When properly educated, patients understand the strength of custom stabilization and are empowered to invest further in their care. Here, innovation in technology energizes your business in multiple ways while staying true to your clinical principles.
ANISH BAJAJ, DC, is a 2000 graduate of Life University in Atlanta, Ga. He is the owner of Bajaj Chiropractic in New York City. He serves on the executive board of the New York Chiropractic Council and is the chair of their Neuroscience and Research Committee. As a member of the Foot Levelers Speakers Bureau, he travels extensively, sharing his chiropractic knowledge and expertise with audiences around the country. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.