Help your patients understand body connectivity for better health

In my daily practice, I am astonished to observe how little knowledge patients have of their own bodies. They don’t realize how the function of individual parts such as the feet affect their bodies as a whole. Most patients grow up receiving treatment in a traditional medical care model so this is not familiar to them.

As chiropractors who treat the extremities, we can help our patients understand that the body parts are all connected, with the feet as their foundation. When the three arches of the plantar vault are not properly aligned, they can destabilize other parts of the body like the spine, leading to pain and decreased mobility. By identifying and treating the true cause of the pain rather than chasing pain symptoms, we can provide more effective care with greater patient satisfaction. This begins by educating our patients about the kinetic chain and the foot-spine connection and stabilizing all three arches of their feet with custom flexible orthotics for optimal kinetic chain function and better overall health.

Communicate the kinetic chain to your patients

The key to successful conversation is being consistent and clear so that patients can understand the information as it relates to their care.

Explain that the kinetic chain is an engineering concept for describing human movement. The kinetic chain consists of overlapping segments connected via joints whereby movement at one joint produces or affects movement in another joint.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If one link in the kinetic chain doesn’t function properly, other links, like the hips and spine, can be compromised as well. When pain is felt within the kinetic chain, that weak link is often the feet. If foot dysfunction isn’t addressed, it could undermine the success of your chiropractic adjustments and care plan.

Dysfunctional Feet = Dysfunctional Kinetic Chain

The excessive foot pronation we frequently observe in our patients creates a faulty and asymmetrical body foundation and dysfunctional kinetic chain. As you follow the feet upwards, you can see the effects that the feet have on the body, working through the linked points that form the kinetic chain.

Stable Feet = Optimal Kinetic Chain

When feet are properly aligned with Foot Levelers custom orthotics, this balances and stabilizes the entire body, helping the rest of the kinetic chain perform more efficiently.

Conversation Starter 1

Using the Three Arch Diagram

Show your patient the diagram below. Explain how all three arches of the foot work together to form the plantar vault and support healthy movement, weight-bearing, and kinetic chain function.

Talking points:

  • “You have three arches under your feet, not just one.”
  • “Your feet don’t hurt but that does not mean they aren’t contributing to pain in other parts of your body. Let’s talk about how they’re connected.”
  • “We are going to assess your feet so we can identify all of the potential issues that could be affecting you.”

Conversation Starter 2

Using the Crooked Person Image

With the patient standing in front of you, point out the issues occurring in their body as diagrammed on the Crooked Person picture below, starting with the feet. It makes the foot-spine connection very relatable.

Crooked person

Talking points

  • “When your foundation is unstable, it creates a ripple effect throughout the other points of the kinetic chain. Over time, this can cause pain and increase your risk for injuries.”
  • “Custom orthotics are a painless, proven way to balance and align your entire body starting from its foundation—the feet.”
  • “To get the best adjustments and chiropractic care, it’s crucial that your body is stabilized all the time. Let’s discuss the right custom orthotics for each of your activities.”

 

Patients may ask if generic insoles could be substituted for custom orthotics in their care. Be sure to point out that everyone’s foot function is unique like a fingerprint. To be effective, orthotics must be custom for each patient and retail insoles could actually make issues worse. Explore the differences between Foot Levelers custom orthotics (the only ones that support all three arches of the foot) and generic insoles in my blog “All Orthotics are NOT Created Equal” and share this information with your patients and team.

In conclusion ( plus additional tips)

The kinetic chain and the foot-spine connection are intimately linked. With practice, you can easily develop the skills needed to convey this information to your patients. Don’t worry if you forgot to tell your patient about a concept or observation you feel is important on their first visit. You can always cover it on the next visit or call/email them and talk about it later that day.

I still call each new patient the day after their first visit to ask them how they are doing and reinforce a few concepts that I taught them the day before.

When the patients understand their bodies as a whole and not just as unrelated parts, they appreciate and value learning about the kinetic chain and accept it as part of their treatment plan. They are more likely to see the benefits of properly supporting their bodies with Foot Levelers custom three-arch orthotics. This boosts the value you offer them as their healthcare provider and reinforces your role as their partner in successful chiropractic care and total body health.

 

Dr. Kevin Wong
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Dr. Kevin M. Wong, DC is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, and a 1996 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic West. He has been in practice for over 25 years and is the owner of Orinda Chiropractic & Laser Center in Orinda, CA.

As a member of Foot Levelers Speakers Bureau since 2004, Dr. Wong travels the country speaking on extremity and spinal adjusting. See upcoming events with Dr. Wong and other Foot Levelers speakers at footlevelers.com/seminars. Check out his monthly blogs with proven practice tips to help you achieve optimal patient outcomes.