Custom-made Orthotics as an Adjunct to Chiropractic Care: The Patient's Perspective


William Austin, DC, CCSP, CCRD1, Dennis L. Nosco, PhD2, John C. Allen, PhD2

INTRODUCTION: Due to the lack of literature on the effectiveness of custom-made orthotics as an adjunct to chiropractic care, a study on this subject ,vas com-missioned by Foot Levelers, Inc. The goals of the study were (I) determine what % of patients considered orthotics an effective adjunct to chiropractic care and/or were satisfied with their orthotics and (2) determine if patient satisfaction varied with demographic category.

METHODS: Chiropractors were recruited through mail advertisements promising modest inducements ( one free pair of orthotics for every 10 questionnaires returned) to return completed questionnaires from consenting patients. Patient entry criteria were: age ≥18 years, patient verbal informed consent, wearing orthotics for ≥1 month, currently under chiropractic care. The type of chiropractic care was not captured, only the conditions for which the patients were being treated. Custom-made, flexible Spinal Pelvic Stabilizer (SPS) orthotics were used and fitted by scanning the feet or from foam impression casts. A 20-question questionnaire was completely sanitized before data entry to insure patient confidentiality. Data were analyzed for frequencies and means (where appropriate) using SPSS 10.0. Inter-variable analyses were conducted using SAS 8.02.

RESULTS: 527 questionnaires were received from 59 chiropractors. Demographic variables for the study are given in Table 4 and, sorted by gender, in Table 1 . Table 2 gives reported regions of responders pain and Table 3 gives reported chief patient complaints. Responders had worn orthotics for means of 2.6 months for 8.6 hours/day and indicated it took 4.4 days to become accustomed to their orthotics. In efficacy-indicating questions, 92.5% indicated satisfaction with their orthotics, 88.5% indicated their orthotics were a good adjunct to their chiropractic care, 55% said they were more active with their orthotics and 88% indicated they would recommend orthotics to a friend.



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