Often, patients and their doctors will address pain by masking it with the use of prescription drugs. While these drugs can be used to manage pain, they do not locate and treat the source of the pain. In other words, they are simply covering up the issue, not healing it. Additionally, such drugs can be addictive and dangerous, leading to worse outcomes than the original pain. When discussing pain—both directly related to the feet (like plantar fasciitis) and because of imbalances—it is important to convey the advantages of treating pain via custom orthotics rather than masking it with prescription drugs.
Student athlete visits can go beyond checking the boxes on a sports physical form–this is the perfect time to ask the right questions to ensure you’re offering comprehensive care that can benefit them in every area of their life. To make sure every session is as productive as possible, we’ve compiled a tip sheet you can use when talking to student athletes.
Student Athlete Checklist and Conversations
- Talk about the why behind the check-up.
- It’s one thing to ensure the student athlete has an up-to-date physical and that they are in good health–it’s another to break down the necessity of the check-up. Why? This can empower them to understand the need for ongoing care for better overall health.
- If they need a physical exam, talk about the importance of the exam and what they can expect.
- Discuss the different sports they play and how this affects their ongoing care.
- This can help you determine what—if any—precautions or assistance a student athlete may need to play at their highest level.
- A conversation about injuries can also unearth lingering issues, both physical and mental, a student athlete may be experiencing.
- Use this to segue into a conversation about injury prevention and staying healthy in and off-season.
- Specific injury prevention techniques may be useful here, including proper conditioning and rest.
- Emphasize the importance of listening to their bodies and prioritizing longevity over “powering through.”
- What do they hope to achieve in their sport and in their life?
- This can open the door to a conversation about optimizing their athletic performance.
- Discuss setting realistic goals, finding a balance between intense training and sustainability, and caring for their bodies long-term.
- This subject creates an opportunity to discuss the value of establishing and maintaining relationships with healthcare providers.
- You can also emphasize the confidence that accompanies a healthy dynamic between a student athlete and their healthcare provider. In the case of injury, having trust that their treatment and recovery will be exceptional is essential.
- One area of their life affects the others, and vice versa.
- For example, their daily posture will influence optimal movement and healthy weight bearing.
Creating Better Student Athletes as a Healthcare Provider
One thing that’s crucial to talk to patients–especially student athletes–is injury prevention. When talking to patients, try offering a more holistic view of how injury prevention won’t just benefit them now but in the long run, too. In other words, discussing longevity (for their sport and for their health) is key. Offer helpful conversation starters like:
In daily clinical practice, we can utilize leg length checks on just about every patient presenting with lower extremity, spinal and upper extremity complaints. In our Foot Levelers community, we understand the role the feet play in many ailments that patients present with, and we know that foot function has a powerful influence on the entire body. The exposure that we have had with leg length discrepancy (LLD) beginning in chiropractic college and then expanding out into the seminars and classes we have taken during our years of practice offers solid support for how important LLD is in everyday patient care.
June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. So, in the spirit of education, detection, and fostering more awareness of scoliosis, let’s understand how chiropractic plays such an important role in this condition. Recall that the classic “structural scoliosis” is a sideways, abnormal curvature of the spine that can range from being hardly noticeable to so severe it affects people’s posture and height. The appearance of scoliosis is generally in 3 forms:
- The spine could curve to the side as a single curve to the left (levoscoliosis)
- The spine could curve to the side as a single curve to the right (dextroscoliosis)
- The spine could involve two curves (shaped like the letter S).
Structural scoliosis causes can be from certain neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, birth defects affecting the development of the bones of the spine; injuries to or infections of the spine; or spinal cord abnormalities.
As chiropractors, many of you have embraced the latest state-of-the-art technologies in your practice that may include EHR software, cold lasers, massage guns, adjusting instruments, etc. There seems to always be some new gadget or gimmick out there that tries to hit us emotionally to make us purchase it. It’s crucial to know if a new piece of technology will be helpful and boost the success of our practice.
When Foot Levelers introduced the world’s first chiropractic foot scanner back in 2001, I was excited to learn about it and adopt it. Personally, I always gravitate towards new technology because it leads us into the future and keeps us on the cutting edge of knowledge. That original FAS SCAN was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the digital scanning technology that would follow in the years to come. Foot Levelers introduced the 3D Kiosk in 2017 and they have continued to enhance it.
It’s a marvel how little patients understand about the bodies they inhabit. In the healthcare arena, pain and discomfort are big factors for going to the typical medical doctor. Most patients have been trained to seek this type of healthcare practitioner from their early days of going to the pediatrician and then to their adult GP. It comes as no surprise to us that patients become frustrated when they are told to take medication, give it 4-6 weeks of rest, or get referred for therapy and exercises that don’t work as well as the patient hopes. They feel like they are spinning their wheels.
Custom Orthotics vs. Generic Insoles
By Kevin M. Wong, DC
One of the biggest challenges I have found over the last 25 years with being an extremity-based Chiropractor is the general lack of public knowledge regarding the feet and how they affect the rest of the body. Starting from a very young age, we are not properly taught about our anatomy and how different body parts work with and affect each other. This comes into play when incorporating the use of orthotics into Chiropractic care.
When patients need medical care, the majority of them will begin with allopathic medicine. This is because they believe that pain is the indicator of when to seek treatment. It’s common to only treat the pain of conditions like plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, and Achilles tendonitis, rather than identifying and correcting the foot/arch dysfunction and biomechanical problems that are their underlying cause. Interestingly enough, many patients with faulty foot biomechanics live their lives without having any foot pain at all. However, in my experience I have seen that upwards of 87% of all human beings in a standing posture exhibit signs of flat or pronating feet that that can lead to pain and disfunction in the knees, hips, pelvis, neck, and spine. Even common conditions like shin splints and sprained ankles can stem from unhealthy foot function.