Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dr. Scholl’s Orthotics: Smoke and Mirrors

Dr. Scholl’s Orthotics: Smoke and Mirrors

Have you been to Walmart and seen the kiosk for Dr. Scholl’s “revolutionary foot mapping technology” that promises “custom fit orthotics?” On the TV commercial you see “doctors” behind the machine like in the Wizard of Oz!

In reality, the “foot mapping technology” is a simple pressure pad. One steps on it and is told where they have high pressure areas and then it suggests a “custom fit orthotic”. First of all, a pressure pad can only tell you where there is more pressure when you are standing still. It knows nothing about what neutral position is, which is the ideal functioning position of the foot. This is the position your foot is captured in when a REAL custom orthotic is made. There is nothing “custom fit” about their process. A custom fit would require not only dispensing an orthotic made directly from a mold or 3D impression of both feet, but also a biomechanical exam including gait analysis. This is what allows a patient to wear an orthotic that is made specifically for their foot type AND gait pattern.

Yes, some people can find relief from and over-the-counter arch support. Claiming to provide custom orthotics without the biomechanical exam and gait analysis is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Don’t believe everything you see on TV!

Visit us anytime at YourFootDoctor.com

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beware of "Toning Shoes"

Beware of “Toning Shoes”

The makers of those widely touted and over-hyped toning shoes continue to make claims that their shoes can create more shapely butts and tonier legs all without a workout. That's partly why toning shoes — which often have a rounded sole like a rocking chair, to stretch the wearer's leg muscles with each stride — represent the fastest-growing segment of the $17 billion-a-year athletic footwear industry.

Sketchers, the market leader, now has Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana touting the shoes in an effort to attract men. Powell predicts that sales will explode 400% this year, to more than $1.5 billion.

Claims that toning shoes can significantly contribute to a person's fitness are "utter nonsense," says Barbara de Lateur, distinguished service professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at John's Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. De Lateur and other doctors warn that toning shoes create their advertised benefit by destabilizing how a person walks and say that wearing the shoes can result in strained Achilles tendons. De Lateur also says the shoes can be a particular problem for older consumers or those who have difficulty keeping their balance. The shoes have also been implicated in broken ankles as well as exacerbating knee problems in those people with pre-existing problems or knee instability.

There are elements of truth to the ads, according to doctors who have questioned the effectiveness and safety of toning shoes. But many of the doctors want more independent studies on the shoes, rather than industry-financed research. Other doctors, such as de Lateur, say they have seen enough to conclude that the shoes mostly represent hype.

The best shoe for extended periods of walking or exercise is still a well constructed athletic shoe, with a good balance of support and cushioning.

So, get out there and walk for exercise, but don’t fall prey to gimmicks and hype. Remember the Earth Shoe?!

You can always find good advice by visiting YourFootDoctor.com where “Healthy Feet Go Places!”