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Chiropractic Research Review

Effect of Weight-Bearing Orthotics on Flexible Pes Planus

In patients with flexible pes planus, the foot shows an observable medial longitudinal arch while in a sitting or recumbent position. However, the arch seems to flatten while in a standing, weight-bearing position.

This condition can lead to plantar fascitis, calcaneal spurs, pelvic unleveling and myofascial low back pain.

A study involving 22 patients evaluated the effect of weight-bearing orthotics on flexible pes planus. Anteroposterior and lateral radiographs were obtained with and without specific orthotics manufactured by a major orthotic supplier, to assess talocalcaneal angles and lateral pitch of both feet.

Values derived from the radiographic measurements indicated improvements in weight-bearing foot alignment while wearing the custom-made orthotics. Arch support and improved structural alignment were demonstrated by decreases in talocalcaneal and lateral pitch angles (these angles normally increase in patients with pes planus).

Conclusion: Biomechanical faults in the pedal foundation can affect any of the joints and structures of the foot/ankle complex, lower extremities, pelvis and spine. The authors suggest that these findings "support the use of a custom-made flexible orthotic for the improvement of pedal structural alignment."

Kuhn DR, Shibley NJ, Austin WM, et al. Radiographic evaluation of weight-bearing orthotics and their effect on flexible pes planus. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, May 1999:22(4), pp221-26.
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Chiropractic Research Review

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