JOHN ZHANG, PHD, MDa
Foot pain and discomfort are common in workers whose job requiring long hours on their feet due to weight bearing and complexity of its structure and function1. It has been reported that approximately three-fourths of Americans experience foot problems in their life2. Foot pain and discomfort often lead to other complications above the level of the foot. The most common problems associated with foot pain and discomfort are ankle, leg, knee, hip and spinal disorders in people who spend many hours standing.3,4 Foot orthotics have been used as a non-invasive treatment for conditions involving the feet and other parts of lower extremities. Many researchers believe that foot orthotics are effective in solving problems of the feet and other parts of lower extremities, and low back pain5. A study of postal workers performed by Carley (1998) revealed a 67% reduction in foot, knee, or back pain as measured by the Borg scale6. Sobel et al (2001) reported in a foot orthotics survey of 122 policemen, that 68% of subjects had decreased foot discomfort but had no improvement in back or leg discomfort7. However, these studies on foot orthotics remain inconclusive because they lack controls. Furthermore, different patient conditions, orthotics casting, and outcome assessments also contribute to the evaluation of effectiveness incosistent8. Therefore, a newly designed study with controls is necessary to determine the effectiveness of orthotics.
Chiropractic care, as the largest non-drug, non-surgery, non-invasive and holistic health care profession, has been demonstrated to be an excellent choice to treat neuromusculoskeletal and visceral problems with its effectiveness and safety9. More chiropractors have been using foot orthotics as part of their practice. However, there are no studies examining the combination o chiropractic care and orthotics for relieving foot and foot-associated pain and discomfort.