Do you know Why you walk like a penguin or a pidgeon?
Life is full of "normals". When it comes to medical care, there are a whole bunch of new “normals” we can expect when we go to the doctor's office. Giving blood or urine samples and checking vital signs are all routine these days. There are certain things that one should expect when they go to a podiatrist's office as well. But all to frequently we find that podiatrists are ignoring or only peripherally addressing these fundamentals.
The evaluation is a 5-10 minute exam of the patient's physical capabilities and limitations that a qualified and well trained individual will perform. It is the foundation upon which many of decisions are made and gives the practitioner a better understanding of the health and condition of the patient. The EvenKeel Bio Exam looks at:
- Ranges of motion in the foot, ankle and hips
- Key resting relationships of the leg and foot structures
- Limb length descrepancy (level of hips and knees)
- Gait analysis, foot strike and posture
It doesn't take long to perform and most find it informative and even enjoyable, as the provider will continually tell the patient to try to relax their body in order to get accurate measurements.
At EvenKeel, we advocate a conservative philosophy of sports medicine and an adherence to non-invasive methods of foot, ankle and lower extremity medicine. We believe a biomechanical examination is essential to a quality primary office visit and that this should be the “normal” for all sports medicine clinics. The information acquired during a thorough exam and how it relates to the way that patients walk is critical to good surgery, proper wound care and injury rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, many foot and ankle specialists have lost sight of the importance of a biomechanical evaluation. The medical schools they attend usually have a few classes in biomechanics, and most podiatric residency programs require at least a minimal exposure to this training. Nevertheless, many physicians and therapists are not aware of how to do a full biomechanical examination and many do not even do one at all. How can wounds heal if they are not being off-loaded correctly? How can a fracture heal if the reason it happened in the first place is ignored?
Every EvenKeel™ Provider, whether physical therapist, podiatrist or otherwise, receives additional training when they sign up to use EvenKeel’s Advanced Custom Orthotic therapy system. Take a look at our Advanced User Guide to learn more about how to perform the exam yourself. Our providers all agree that looking closely at the way their patients walk and getting a better understanding of the underlying cause of a problem improves patient outcomes in the long run. EvenKeel providers believe that surgery is a last resort. They know that even when surgery is performed, correcting the patient's biomechanics will improve and hasten their full recovery.
Correction typically takes the form of custom orthotic devices. But too many doctors prescribe orthotic devices without a full understanding of what, why and how to prescribe these devices properly. Frequently, orthotic devices are created using a cast of the foot - this will create a shell that simply mirrors the shape of the sole. That shell is useless if the orthotic provider does not know how to reposition the foot and lower extremities relative to the ground and the body. Just because you get your foot casted does not mean you will be receiving a biomechanically functional orthotic.
That’s not to say that all casted orthotics are wholly bad either. There are certainly some orthotic labs that we respect and believe do a good job. But very few, if any, address the whole foot from heel to toe and fewer create a product that truly addresses the full length of the foot. Every EvenKeel Advanced Custom Orthotic device carries its prescribed correction past the forefoot into the toes. This is unique to our offering.
Are you interested in learning more about our examination process? Download and print out the EvenKeel Biomechanical Examination form and bring it to your podiatrist. Ask them about what measurements they will utilize to post your orthotic into the correct position.
While you are at it, find out how they will make your custom orthotics. Find out if the posting you will be prescribed will be in the rearfoot, the forefoot and be carried out to the toes. Learn about the materials they will use. Will the orthotics be a combination of firm but flexible and soft materials? Will they flex in the forefoot and correct your gait so that you will walk more efficiently?
If they say to you: "What's a biomechanical exam?" - Run - or hobble if you are in pain, whatever you can do - get out of that office as fast as possible.
If they say, "I perform that type of exam." - then be sure they give you a QUANTITATIVE exam. Not just a qualitative one - meaning make sure they actually measure you and put NUMBERS on your measurements.
Be sure that you are getting the best for foot and lower extremity care.
Make sure you are walking and running at your very best.
Do it with the help of EvenKeel Advanced Custom Orthotics.