Approximately half of DCs offer custom orthotics in their practices; learn the secrets of cash and foot orthotics
Let me ask you this … how hungry are you?
The majority of revenue for chiropractic practices is from adjustments delivered — no surprise there. Most practices are sole-practitioner based, again not a surprise. Time is finite, so in order to increase revenue produced, we either add modalities like payments of cash and foot orthotics or bring in other complementary specialists.
The other challenge that time presents in practice is that when the majority of us are out of the office, income is not being generated. Residual income sources vary depending on ancillary services and programs provided.
Cash and foot orthotics: the billion-dollar industry
According to a 2019 survey published in Chiropractic Economics, the average income from retail for chiropractors is 8.5%.¹ The survey found that 49% of DCs offered custom orthotics in their practice.
The insoles business is a billion-dollar industry. There are many options for consumers in today’s market, from big-box retail, sporting goods and running stores that carry prefabricated options, to stand-alone stores that offer their versions of semi-custom products as well. However, only doctors of chiropractic are the true professional experts to offer what is truly needed — custom foot orthotics.
The most common reason people seek out orthotics is pain. This can be foot pain in general or pain due to the body’s reaction to a dropped arch. When left uncorrected the body’s reaction to pain can cause postural imbalances, altered gait, reduced performance, plantar fasciitis, bunions and/or neuromas.
There are four simple points you can communicate effectively with your patients that will add the necessary value as to why they should be purchasing orthotics from your office:
1. Everyone is “Crooked Man”
A goal of the body is to keep your head straight. As we view our surroundings and more specifically the event horizon, we see straight lines. With that being said, we are typically walking on an evenly-balanced flat surface. So, the feet and head are even, which means something in the middle will react to balance and imbalance. Even though orthotics are placed into your shoes, they actually influence all of the moving parts in your body.
When feet are properly stabilized, the rest of your body moves with greater ease and harmony. Orthotics really help with posture, so if you have a patient who slumps a lot or favors one side over another, wearing orthotics will help correct posture and movements. For this reason, orthotics are favored by athletes. Running stores have based their entire business on this fact because wearing them while training positively influences the way the entire body moves.
2. An investment to save patients money
When evaluating a patient, look at the wear pattern of their shoes, belt loops, and the bottom of their pants. Postural imbalances cause the body to distribute weight unevenly. Orthotics correct this uneven distribution. What this means to your patient is that worn belt loops and/or frayed bottoms of pant legs will diminish. Also, their shoes will last longer due to the even distribution of weight.
3. Gravity is a constant stressor
Orthotics are frequently used to treat plantar fasciitis and relieve discomfort from other joints in the body like the ankles, knees, hips and lower back. If you are a person who spends a lot of time on your feet, wearing orthotics and having an equal distribution of your body weight can make long periods of time on your feet much more manageable for your entire body. An even distribution of body weight means you will not feel aches and pain in other areas, such as your back or hips, at the end of a long day.
4. Increase performance, reduce injuries
Custom orthotics properly activate the kinetic chain so one can move faster with greater ease. Custom orthotics are designed for each person’s unique foot to provide optimal support and comfort. What many people do not realize is that there are three arches in the foot, each one needing special support. Someone who is flat-footed in one arch may not be in another, so a custom orthotic provides specific support.
Wearing orthotics helps protect the body from future injuries for several of the reasons mentioned above — like evenly distributing body weight, but also supporting the various areas of the feet. Orthotics can help relieve and prevent issues such as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and bursitis, as well as protecting from injuries like twisted ankles, back strains, and unnecessary hip and knee pain.
Build from the foundation
The feet are the foundation of the body. Gravity is constant, and with a trend these days focused on how many steps people get on a daily basis, custom orthotics allow a more proper gait by activating the kinetic chain properly.
In our technological society, assessing dysfunction qualitatively and quantitatively is powerful. With a digital foot scanner, it is easy and efficient to evaluate all three arches of the foot, and it allows patients to understand the imbalances they have along with the impact and resulting pain and potential injury.
ALAN SMITH, DC, received his chiropractic license in 2001 from Parker University College of Chiropractic. He is the owner of Axiom Wellness Center in Jacksonville, Fla. The birth of Axiom Wellness Center was derived from the five Axioms of health and the meaning behind it.