Custom-made stabilizing foot orthotics help patients and help the bottom line in providing chiropractic office supplemental income
When we successfully graduate from chiropractic college and earn our doctor of chiropractic degree, we are ready to take on the world. We really hone-in on adjusting and that is essentially the backbone of what we do every day (pun intended).
At some point in your practice, you have realized that there is a whole world out there of ancillary skills and services you can offer to your patients in addition to just chiropractic care. These services serve to enhance the care you are already giving and increase your menu of offerings. Your added skills and services often help give you individuality in a world where many consumers think chiropractors all do the same thing. Additionally, these skills/services will also help you with supplemental income that becomes important when our economy is not as favorable.
Chiropractic office supplemental income streams
Various post-graduate degrees, nutritional supplements, orthopedic support pillows, exercise equipment/tools, elastic taping and topical analgesics are just some of the examples of what you can provide in your practice for chiropractic office supplemental income streams. I want to focus on one specific area involving a body part that gets very little attention by most of the medical professionals in health care, including chiropractors. This would be the use of custom-made stabilizing foot orthotics in helping our patients and helping your bottom line.
I want to remind you that the feet are the foundation of our human house. When you see problems with the foundation of a home, that instability transfers up to the walls and is seen elsewhere. Most commonly, we see excessive foot pronation (arch collapse) in 80-85% of my patients. About 3-5% of my patients excessively supinate (high instep). These people each have issues stemming from the arch problems.
These can cause pain in the ankles, legs, knees, thighs, hips, pelvis and the spine. It’s amazing how prevalent foot issues are out there, and they are waiting for you to find them. As a chiropractor, you have a unique set of skills to help these patients differently than any other type of doctor in any other field.
Many of you already understand that once arches flatten and the plantar fascia and spring ligament are stretched, there’s no bringing them back. Orthotics are something that will provide the support where the arches are lacking, take stress off the joints and soft tissues, and align the patient’s body from toes to nose.
Here are five reasons why custom orthotics are reliable sources of chiropractic office supplemental income streams:
- Almost every patient has some sort of issue with over-pronation or excessive supination and it starts by age 6. Our three arches are fully formed by age 6-7 so arch problems become apparent at an early age. Pronation/supination problems are so easy to spot that it only takes seconds to minutes to identify them.
- Weight-bearing scanning and casting technologies are not only readily available, but provide a “Wow” factor for your patients. You may not think patients notice, but they enjoy a doctor who puts money back in their practice. The new generation of 3-D laser foot scanners help you efficiently gather the information needed; show the patient what is wrong with their feet/body; transmit the information so the parent company can make their custom orthotics; and emails the patient so they have a copy of their scan to show their family and friends.
- Custom orthotics come at an affordable cost to the practitioner and the patient. Consider an average cost of an orthotic to the chiropractor is $150. If you sell them for $300, you are making $150 per pair. Once you have explained to the patient how their arches are deficient, you can even have them stand on a test pair to see how comfortable they are. Consider this: rigid (hard) and semi-rigid orthotics, which are the standard of care in the medical/podiatric fields, are fairly uncomfortable for patients. They also cost somewhere between $500-600. Not only are the flexible orthotics you can offer a better product, but they are essentially half the cost with a one year, money-back guarantee. Patients love this.
- You have the ability to prescribe multiple types of orthotics depending on the patient’s needs. Some athletes will need a tougher, more rugged orthotic while your patients who wear dress shoes may just need a ¾ length soft leather orthotic. Most people need a second pair because they bought the first pair for the sport shoes just to try them out. Now, they want another pair for their dress shoes. There are options to order shoes, custom flip-flops and sandals, all with the arches built in, or a removable orthotic that can be transferred to other shoes. There are so many options for your patients and you can profit from all of this.
- People will come in just to get scanned for orthotics and that is a great way to get them interested in chiropractic care. When your scanner is placed in your front reception area, or some other high-traffic location, patients walk by it and want to stand on it and get scanned. People who are not currently patients will ask if they can scan themselves because they are interested. That often giftwraps an opportunity for you to explain more about their feet and their body. We see this a lot in parents bringing their children in; an accompanying significant other; or random folks walking through our common area who feel pulled towards the scanner. It is a great conversation starter.
Let’s not forget the reason why we are motivated to do anything extra in our practice: Because we know it feels right and honest for the patient. So many people have undiagnosed foot pronation and supination issues that negatively affect the ankles, knees, hips, pelvis and spine. We chiropractors have the skills to identify and treat these areas. You deserve to be paid for your knowledge and to create chiropractic office supplemental income streams. Custom orthotics are a solid supplemental income that you will utilize for the rest of your practice years.
Kevin Wong, DC, is a Foot Levelers speaker. He is a practicing chiropractor and owns Orinda Chiropractic Center in Orinda, Calif.