Babies and toddlers have problems with balance and posture, as they learn to use the mechanics of the body. It’s a steep learning curve but most kids eventually get to where they need to be. Your age or any medical conditions you may have can affect balance and posture as well.
For others, genetic conditions mean that they will struggle with balance and posture throughout life. Sufferers of conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy often have difficulties. Similarly, people with diabetic neuropathy are more prone to falling due to balance issues.
How the body balances and sways relies on proprioception, which describes the how the brain interprets body movements and relative positions of joints such as the ankle. The mechanisms involved in proprioception are complex, requiring input from tendons, joints, and vision. Ankle joint stability requires effective proprioception in order to maintain balance and posture.
Foot Orthoses and Balance
The evidence that foot orthoses are helpful for proper balance is increasing with each new study. Custom foot insoles, especially, have shown positive effects on postural stability and balance. However, custom insoles alone are not likely to have a huge benefit for people with balance instability. They act as an aid in therapies and speed up recovery times and improvements.
Many researchers have looked to sport as a source of useful data on orthotics. One particular sport where custom insoles have helped athletes improve balance is figure skating. Young skaters use custom insoles in their boots while training, which helps them achieve proper balance and posture.
Most of the encouraging evidence involves the use of custom insoles. Non-custom insoles have corresponded with improvements in some subjects, however, researchers are not convinced there is enough evidence to prove that the insoles were the reason for the difference in those cases.
Older people who suffer from balance problems can see vast improvements using custom insoles.
Biomechanics and Etiology
Biomechanics is the study of movement, and etiology deals with the causes of diseases or conditions. A combination of the two areas of study is important in establishing the function of insoles in helping with balance and posture problems. Studies are looking at how insoles help the foot maintain correct positioning and help patients control the mechanics of movement.
Most studies are focused on the investigation of instability, as most common problems with balance are impacted by poor stability. The reasons for instability are numerous, which is why taking both a biomechanical and etiological approach to studies will produce the most beneficial results.
Real World Applications
The use of custom insoles in helping patients maintain balance and posture is not yet widely practiced. Therapists who deal specifically with biomechanical issues and chiropodists are perhaps the main proponents of custom insoles. Professionals in both fields observe patient progress in real time, giving them a broader view of the effectiveness of custom insoles. Chiropodists are also able to create therapy plans which involve analysis of movement and diagnosis of foot related conditions.
The wealth of studies on the role of custom insoles in aiding the improvement of balance is useful for chiropodists. Your chiropodist can use research data to provide you with custom insoles that are designed to aid treatment and therapy for your specific disease and condition.
Step By Step can provide you with treatments and therapies that will help you improve your balance and posture. We are looking closely at all recent studies regarding custom insoles and their benefit in balance therapy. As new data emerges we can incorporate positive results into the treatment that we provide to our patients.