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"Best" orthotic vs "Worst" orthotic

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by PodAus, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. PodAus

    PodAus Active Member

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    <ADMIN NOTE: I have split this topic and slightly edited it off from the DC Wedges thread</>

    What happens to the patient if 'the world's "best orthotic" is sold by the world's worst practitioners'?

    How does this result vary if 'the world's "worst orthotic" is sold by the world's best practitioners'?

    Anyone, anyone...?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2006
  2. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    Thats part of the problem. From what I understand from all the trials and outcome studies, foot orthoses of all types seem to work in improving symptoms. That implies to me that if you are incompetent and use what might be the "worst orthotic", most of your patients will get better and you will stay in business. I assume if you are competent and use the "best orthotic", you will get better results, but there is no research to support that (based on my limited reading and understanding of the literature).
  3. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I don't think its quite qas bad as Davinci makes out ... but just look at the improvement in the 'sham' or 'control' groups in the orthotic randomised controlled trials --- they get better with "bad" orthotics. In the ones we have done, we used devices that I would never come close to using clinically, but the symptomatic improvement with them is remarkable.
  4. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member

    I think the main issue is the potential for long term damage with poorly prescibed or poorly designed orthoses.

    If the mechanical impact of the orthoses needs to be primarily in the sagittal plane, then the elevation of the heel by some orthoses may reduce syptoms. However, if the orthoses are also blocking 'normal' mechanics e.g. 1st ray function, then the long term effect may be detrimental.
    A lot of the skill of prescribing functional devices is knowing how to optmise foot function e.g. Hick's Windlass, along side the pathology treating prescription variables.

  5. javier

    javier Senior Member

    I do no think we can talk about "best" or "worst" orthotics (first of all how do you define what a "best" orthotic is). This discussion is irrelevant since it does not matter how an orthotic is designed and manufactured or materials used if it accomplish it goals.

    Also, the most incompetent practitioners can achieve good results if they are lucky subjects and choose the right orthotic permutation. The only difference between "best" or "worst" practitioners will be related to the ability to choose the right orthotic permutation leaving luck aside.
  6. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Answer and Important attachment

    Thanks Pod Aus,
    This was originally a question for me from Pod Aus which I wrote an answer to and then had to run out before I got to post it. So here goes....
    1. The design of the orthoses is completely up to the practitioner. In the workshop portion of the course and in the course manual we discuss many design parameters including shoe type, activity level, diagnosis, body weight, foot flexibility etc. etc. In this particular question you are only varying the weight and the activity level. Both of these parameters are addressed by calibration. Calibration is based firstly on body weight and foot flexibility. Then it is modified to include activity level. In extreme cases such as a lineman in football (American football), rugby, or power lifting the activity level moves up considerably in importance. For running however we calibrate the orthoses to resist greater force. At this time we are still researching the variation of forces in various activities. There is so much more to be done. Since momentum is mass x velocity we are looking at a range of forces appropriate to a person’s weight and activity level. This can never be exact because people assume a range of velocities. Our experience is that calibration puts the runner into a therapeutic range…..and sometimes we miss calibrate. Yes, the “world’s best” still has a long way to go.
    2. Best Orthotic…Worst practitioner: We require every practitioner before they have the right to use Sole Supports, take both the theory and workshop. During the workshop we do our best to train the practitioner. The leave with the DVD and a workshop CD along with a course manual that goes over casting so they can practice at home. Once a practitioner chooses to become a client, they purchase a supply kit. As a client we also give all of the casting boxes including practice boxes on request for FREE. We do this because we will NOT accept a cast if it does not pass certain QC tests (including the pen test….taught in the workshop). We call for a recast. The world’s worst practitioner might require additional training….we provide that in a variety of ways.
    3. Worst Orthotic…Best Practitioner: I agree with Craig. Even the worst orthotics will alleviate symptoms….as I keep saying we do need to raise the bar.

    I have attached something that I wanted to attach earlier….maybe it should be its own thread, that’s up to Admin. Please take a look and tell me what you think.Ed
  7. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member


    I'll try again to post this attachment. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I got it converted to a HTML file that is only 2 KB. I see now, it is the wrong file type. I will ask Don to post it for me.
  8. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

  9. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Totally agree - but we all probably have disagreeing ideas of what is right and wrong for that ... I am trying to come up with different research designs/methodology to test this, but are struggling to determine the appropriate outcome measure .... working on it ... (Ed - will be in touch soon)
  10. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member


    Atachments can be tempermental, esp if large. Anothe option is what you have done and link to it.

    The other option is to put the picture on any website (or email to me and I put it up on this site) and then use the vB Code to hot link to it

    For your diagram this means placing the link to the image (not page) between a tags. To get link for picture and right click - get url from properties - for your image its http://www.solesupports.com/firstMetDiagramSR.jpg

    so putting it between the tags

    we get the picture..
  11. Since we are now talking about supination resistance, I thought it would be helpful to the readers of Podiatry Arena to provide them with an excerpt from the chapter that I wrote along with Donald Green, DPM, in a book edited by Steve DeValentine, DPM on Foot and Ankle Disorders in Children (that is now out of print and unavailable for purchase). It was in this chapter where the concept of supination resistance and the supination resistance test was first described in the medical literature, 14 years ago.

    In addition, I again wrote about the supination resistance test which I invented. This was first published in the November 1997 Precision Intricast Newsletter and was again compiled into my second book (Kirby KA: Foot and Lower Extremity Biomechanics II: Precision Intricast Newsletters, 1997-2002. Precision Intricast, Inc., Payson, AZ, 2002, pp. 155-156). This newsletter is posted on the lab's website. Supination Resistance Test Newsletter

    The supination resistance test is very nicely explained by the principles described by the Subtalar Joint Axis Location/Rotational Equilibrium Theory of Foot Function.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2006
  12. PodAus

    PodAus Active Member


    My point exactly, hence why this is a perfectly relevant discussion. Appropriate orthotic design and application must be based upon a specific set of risk factors and functional test results. Therefore the clinician must have a structured rational when prescribing orthotic therapy, and review the patient at set intervals (short, medium, long term). Then orthotic modification, dependant upon patient reponse and risk-factor variability, is intrinsic to the care of the patient.

    The goals of orthotic therapy need to be discussed with the patient at the outset, and re-considered over time.
  13. javier

    javier Senior Member

    You are talking about a different subject here, or I misunderstood you. You bring the question regarding "best" and "worst" orthotic design and manufacturing. But, I am afraid that nobody can claim that a single design or manufacturing is better than other, since the almost infinite number or orthotic permutations.

    Now, you are talking about a protocol for orthotic assessment, right? You have plenty of them. And, like orthotic design they are more or less reliable although all of them accomplish certain number of goals. But, it rises the same fact: none of these systems (or paradigms like most of you love to call them) is actually better than another. They are different ways for achieving the same goals.

    If I am wrong, please correct me. But, from your last statement It seems that you are looking for the same thing that most practitioners I know: a single evidence-based medicine protocol for orthotic assessment and dispensing. From, my point of view we are very far from this and if someday it is achieved, we will be replaced since our expertise for choosing the right permutation will not be necessary.

  14. PodAus

    PodAus Active Member

    Hi Javier,

    That is my point here. There is no 'best or worst' - only appropriate prescription if the rational for the case is sound. And this will most likely be modified depending upon the variables (footwear and activity - spikes vs. runners vs. grass-sports vs. fashion).

    I make this point when I detect the 'my design is better than your design' arguement.

    Patient care rational, supported by 'cause-effect' evidence and clinical experience allows practitioners to pick and choose what is 'best' for this case and 'best' for that case.

    I'd suggest you and I already agree on this one.
  15. javier

    javier Senior Member

    Absolutely, although first of all we should arrive to a consensus about how foot works and how orthotics achieve their goals.
  16. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Thanks for the references :) . They illustrates some good points and it sounds as though your supination resistance test is a very valuable tool to determine the forces necessary to supinate the foot in the frontal plane. I am talking about sagittal plane supination resistance here.
    The force diagram I drew here is turned 90 degrees and explains one of Eric Fuller's questions. In a previous tread he asks how the orthotic reaches up to bring the head of the first metatarsal to the orthotic. It is really the force applied by the plantar fasciae and the Flexor Hallucis Longus and Brevis that are acting with an increased vertical lever arm around the primarily sagital plane axis of the first ray as the first metatarsal is plantarflexed relative to the midfoot. Simultaneous decrease in the pronation moment by decreasing the Anterior to posterior distance from the axis to the ground reactive force also reduces the sagittal plane supination resistance. Hence pronated position begets further pronation and a supinated position begets further supination.
    One possible reason for the decreased necessity for rearfoot posting in the MASS position, besides the obvious danger of over correction, is the fact that the STJ axis (which I believe is a concept useful only as a first approximation as it is an over-simplification), increases its slope off of the transverse plane as the foot supinates (as it moves laterally....good illustrations of this in your article). This would tend to make the frontal plane forces relative to the axial projection in the transverse plane relatively less effective and the rotational forces of the leg more effective in causing foot re-supination.

    In other words, in the MASS position:
    1. Frontal Plane Moments
    a. STJ axis moves laterally decreasing pronation moment and decreasing frontal plane supination resistance.
    b. COP moves medially as full contact causes a greater force to be spread over the MLA....decreasing pronation moment and decreasing frontal plane supination resistance.

    2. Sagital Plane Moments
    a. Increased inclination angle of the PF 1st ray increases the lever arm of the horizontally applied posteriorly directed force ofthe Flexors and Plantar Fasciae. see diagram.
    b. Increased inclination angle of the 1st ray reduces the pronation moment of the GRF reducing sagital plane supination resistance.

    3. Transverse Plane.
    a. Increased slope, off the transvers plane, of the STJ axis increases the efficiency of the external rotational moments of the leg and thigh as the trunk rotates anteriorly at the ipsilateral hip joint during gait which reduces transverse plane supination resistance.

    MASS position has so many positive effects as it allows a much gentler touch of the orthotic because the full contact redistributes the force evenly over the entire surface of the orthosis and the supination resistance in all three cardinal body planes are sumultaneously decreased.

    The important points are:

    1. MASS position makes resupination easier in all three planes.
    2. To control the foot you must apply a force and to do so it is most efficient and comfortable to spread that force evenly over the entire plantar surface of the foot (which effects a far more efficient translation of COP medially than traditional posting technologies). Hence full contact and never any arch fill.
    3. Full contact is only tolerable within certain force limits (a therapeutic index) therefore the correct force and flexibility must be applied (hence choosing a material of the correct modulus of elasticity and callibration...already quite advanced but an ongoing project getting more acurate as research continues).
    4. Positioning the foot in greater supination before heel strike dampens pronation by creating a time delay.
    5. MASS position at midstance places the Talar head on the anterior facet preventing rotation around the cone shaped posterior facet in the sagital plane which increases the efficiency of propulsion.
    6. End ROM of the STJ, midfoot joints and MTP are never reached thus far more efficiently decreasing or eliminating tissue stresses.
    7. Dramatic positional changes require more muscular adaptation and can cause transient muscular, ligamentous and joint pain during the adaptation period. This may require more agressive physical therapy. ROM exercises, muscle strengthening exercises specific to the patients gait changes are highly recommended....ideally this can be accomplished with a PT referral.

    To do #2 above without #3 has led many researchers to abandon the entire concept of beginning the control of the foot. Foot orhotic manufacturers have opted for comfort over correction to reduce warrantees. Challenge the patient's feet to assume a more efficient functional position to reduce and even reverse deformity instead of only decreasing the tissue stresses that cause symptoms. The way out of pain is sometimes through the pain....which will be considerably decreased with good physical therapy.


  17. Ed,

    Since medial arch raising and flattening are primarily sagittal plane motions, and not necessarily the dorsiflexion-eversion-abduction and plantarflexion-inversion-adduction that the words "pronation" and "supination" represent, then I believe that the term "supination resistance" in your sagittal plane analysis of the first ray is a little confusing. In the past, I have performed similar analyses and used terms such as forefoot plantarflexion moment or first ray plantarflexion moment to indicate a medial longitudinal arch raising moment and forefoot dorsiflexion moment or first ray dorsiflexion moment to indicate a medial longitudinal arch flattening moment (Kirby KA: Foot and Lower Extremity Biomechanics II: Precision Intricast Newsletters, 1997-2002. Precision Intricast, Inc., Payson, AZ, 2002, pp. 139-152). See one of my illustrations below from my lecture on "How Do Foot Orthoses Work".

    Otherwise, I understand your explanation above and, even though I don't completely agree with your analysis and opinions, I believe we are starting to share enough common ground so that we can have more interesting and educational discussions.

    Attached Files:

  18. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Actually the supination resistance test you describe could be considered similarly a frontal plane change but the truth is that there is no elevation of the MLA or pure plantarflexion of the 1st without triplane motion in the closed chain. In the closed chain, single plane motion does not occur in isolation. If the plantarflexion was performed in the open chain during slipper casting as suggested by Prolabs …that would be more possible. The graphic you show illustrates the presence of GRF and Downward force of gravity acting through the tibia but does not show or compare different positional changes and their relative effect.

    We need to redefine exactly "How Do Foot Orthoses Work" which is very different depending on which foot orthotic we are talking about. Different designs work differently. Some work by reducing terminal tissue stresses others cause a repositioning of the STJ and rear-foot to place the foot in greater supination throughout the gait cycle. The question is which method is more efficient and gives the best long and short term clinical result. That is where we may differ.

  19. efuller

    efuller MVP

    What comes first?

    Ed, I don't think this quite answers my question. A patient stands on an orthosis and the orthosis creates different locations of forces acting on the foot. Which forces, from the orthosis, cause the arch to be higher? Where are they applied? Now, I would agree with you that it would be possible for the muscles to cause supination of the STJ and plantar flexion of the first ray, but this is a central nervous system response to the orthosis. Are you saying that your orthoses work through a centreal nervous system response or are you saying that pressure in the arch from the orthosis raises the arch, or a combination of both?

    How long will the muscles be able to hold the foot in this position?

    I'm not sure that you can say that supination begats more supination all of the time. If you supinate the STJ a little bit, with the muscles, there will be a lateral shift in the center of pressure causing a greater pronation moment acting on the foot especially in the more medially deviated STJ axis foot. Now, if you supinate the foot enough the entire plantar surface, and lateral surface, of the foot will medial to the STJ axis and then there will be a supination moment from ground reaction force.

    On average how many degrees do your orthoses supinate/invert the STJ? Is this enough to make a significant difference in the location of the STJ axis?

    You refer to transverse plane and frontal plane forces. The forces perpendicular to the transverse plane are a function of body weight and in the vast majority of activities will be orders of magnitude larger than forces parallel to the transvers plane. Therefore the position of force relative to the transverse plane projection of the axis will tend to be much more important than forces perpendicular to other planes.

    STJ axis movement and Center of pressure movement. Which one moves faster with STJ supination. My bet is on the COP. If cop moves faster laterally than the axis there will be an increase in pronation moment. A few degrees of supination from muscular activity will cause the cop to be at the lateral border of the foot. There may be some feet, with a laterally position stj axis that the axis may move further laterally, but I would bet that the majority of feet, with muscular supination will not increase supination moment from ground reactive force with a supination motion. On the other hand you could believe that the orthosis causes a direct supination moment, but that is best done with a medial heel skive, which you do not use. (To supinate the foot you would want to push on the bony structure furthest medial to the STJ axis which is the medial tubercle in most feet. In most feet the medial arch bones are deep to 2cm of soft tissue and cannot be directly pushed on by an orhosis.)

    I don't understand how increased inclination of first met decreases pronation moment. Are you saying that there is more force under the first met in this position? Position does not correlate with force. If you supinate your foot, with muscles, and then plantar flex your metatarsal maximally and it just touches the ground the center of pressure will be lateral.


    Eric Fuller
  20. If you will read the excerpt from my chapter in Steve DeValentine's book again, you will see the following sentence: "Basically, the supination resistance test involves subjectively determining the amount of lifting force which the physician's fingertips must apply to cause supination motion at the STJ." Therefore, contrary to what you state, I am not looking for a frontal plane change but, rather, a tri-plane movement of the STJ when I perform the supination resistance test, as I originally described it.

    The graphic was intended to show you, and the other readers of Podiatry Arena, that "supination resistance" is not a good term to describe the sagittal plane medial longitudinal arch (MLA) mechanics that you depicted in your illustration. Rather, my graphic illustrated how the MLA moments that can cause either MLA flattening or MLA raising can be described as a forefoot dorsiflexion moment or forefoot plantarflexion moment. It was not meant to be a complete description of the kinetics of the midtarsal joint. I will give a more complete lecture regarding this topic, along with Chris Nester also speaking on his kinematic research on the MTJ, at the PFOLA meeting in Chicago in early December.

    I agree that we differ in how we think foot orthoses work. From the research that I have reviewed and through over two decades of writing and thinking about this subject, I believe that all foot orthoses work, no matter how they are designed, by altering the locations, magnitudes and temporal patterns of ground reaction force (GRF) acting on the plantar foot during weightbearing activities. One lab may produce a higher MLA orthosis without a rearfoot post and produce increased STJ supination moment by shifting the GRF in the MLA more medially, while another lab may produce a orthosis with slightly lower medial arch, add a rearfoot post, deep heel cup and medial heel skive and shift the GRF in both the plantar heel and MLA more medially, producing even greater increases in STJ supination moment. In my opinion, one is not better than the other. They are, instead, just two different ways of accomplishing the same orthosis goal: to increase the external STJ supination moment from the orthosis in order to counterbalance the internal STJ pronation moments that are causing injury or abnormal gait function.

    From an earlier posting you wrote:

    I don't quite understand why you think that the STJ axis is a "first approximation as it is an over-simplification". The tracking of the STJ axis is now of major interest in many biomechanics research centers and I am now involved in research with the Penn State Biomechanics Lab in trying to determine how we can track it better in live subjects. Here is the paper of my work with the lab from two years ago that will soon be published in Gait and Posture (Lewis GS, Kirby KA, Piazza SJ: Determination of subtalar joint axis location by restriction of talocrural joint motion. Gait and Posture. In press. 2006).

    Here is where we discussed this earlier on Podiatry Arena:

    Steve Piazza, PhD, a mechanical engineer that has his PhD in biomechanics and is currently working at Penn State, just wrote a nice review paper on the importance of STJ axis determination (Piazza SJ: Mechanics of the subtalar joint and its function during walking. Foot Ankle Clin N Am, 10:425-442, 2005).

    Here are some excerpts from Dr. Piazza's paper:

    If you need further references on the research over the past 50 years on STJ axis mechanics so you can become better educated on the importance of this very important joint of the foot, I would be happy to provide these references to you or any other readers that are following along.
  21. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Kevin and Eric,
    I want to give a complete answer to both of you but time is not on my side right now. I am leaving this morning on a 10 day five city lecture tour followed by research meetings (new high speed camera ariving soon....can't wait) and then 10 days in Hawaii. I will do my best. Also our article in Biomechancs Magazine this month has made such a stir (we are getting 30+ new clients a day), we have to expand every aspect of our company....and all while my my lecture schedule is insane. Besides that we are writing an advanced lecture and the fourth generation 3D graphics are extreme cutting edge stuff (which requires input on camera angles, lighting etc.) Meanwhile we are writing and editing more articles and building an employee enhancement center, expanding our office space, and trying to leave some time for recumbent bicycling and playing music (I play guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and Uke) learning electronics (hobby restoring old radios) and all that doen't include my charitable and local political involvments. And then family (four kids and four grandkids) do come first. Don't get me wrong...I love this...this is the life I created for myself. Some folks seem to live on this site....I use it as a distraction and a wonderful outlet to bounce my ideas off some of the most brilliant minds in foot biomechanics in the world (thank you Craig, Deiter, Phil, David, Kevin, Eric, Simon and too many more to name) So please excuse any delay in answering. I am so looking forward to relaxing in Hawaii. Thank God for my wonderful wife...and our brilliant team at Sole Supports....without them none of this would be possible. They deserve a vacation. I think you can link to the Biomechanics Mag. article on our website.

    Life is Good,
  22. efuller

    efuller MVP


    After having met you, I believe that you are wonderful employer and family man. However, in the time you took to tell us that you could have answered the questions or at least put some thought into the answer of those questions. I'll try and remember to re post the question in a couple of weeks.

    Have a good vacation, with kindest regards,

  23. Jeff Root

    Jeff Root Well-Known Member


    Having read your article in Biomechanics Magazine, I have some questions for you. While it appears that there are aspects of “Root Theory” that you may not understand, my question relates to the rationale behind your theory and not what is wrong with Root theory.

    The casting technique you endorse obviously captures the plantar contour of the foot with the midtarsal joint in either a supinated (triplane) or plantarflexed (sagittal plane) position. Casting the foot with the MTJ in a supinated position or with the forefoot plantarflexed at the MTJ should in fact encourage some degree of supination at the MTJ and in theory, should increase resupination moments at both the STJ and the MTJ or decrease the pronation moments at these joints.

    My understanding of your approach from talking to a few practitioners who have attended your lecture and who have worn your orthoses is that you use a fairly flexible device. In spite of that, they complained of medial arch or transverse arch irritation or discomfort resulting from excessive MLA or transverse arch pressure. Since this is a small sample size, perhaps this is the exception, but it was a consistent comment from those I spoke to. I know from thirty years of personal experience in manufacturing prescription foot orthoses that the amount of pressure that an individual patient can comfortably tolerate in the MLA is highly individual, due in part to anatomical variation and individual preference. Excessive MLA pressure from an orthosis can produce plantar fibromas along the medial slip of the plantar fascia, which is a potential complication with perception orthotic therapy.

    I visited the link to your company that you posted below your name but I couldn’t find any information about the nature of your products. I was hoping to find something that might indicate the nature of the materials that you use in manufacturing your orthoses. If you subscribe to a casting technique that is supposed to enhance resupination of the foot, I would think that you would want to use a material that is sufficiently stiff to support the foot in the manner casted. Since I couldn’t find any specific information about materials on you site, I am left to assume that the information that was conveyed to me by those who have worn your orthoses is true (ie. the device has a high arch but is considerably more flexible that conventional functional orthoses). If you are using a flexible shell material, how might you explain this apparent contradiction of mechanical objectives?

    Jeff Root
  24. Jeff (and Ed, Don and Stu):

    Thanks for coming to your father's rescue here. I also read Ed, Don and Stu's (all work for SoleSupport insole company) article in Biomechanics Magazine this weekend and was quite shocked about many of the errors within the article about your father's work. Here are some of the errors I found in the article:

    I never heard Mert Root, John Weed, Bill Orien, Tom Sgarlato, Chris Smith or any of the other "founding fathers" of STJ neutral theory say that the rearfoot post was the main part of an orthosis. In fact, the rearfoot post wasn't added into the Root Functional Orthosis (per my memory of the story) until Tom Sgarlato had a dentist friend show him how to use dental acrylic and add it to the orthosis. Before that time, the orthoses did not have rearfoot posts. We were taught as podiatry students at CCPM to dispense the orthosis shells, have the patient back in three weeks and then have the rearfoot posts added onto the orthosis at the reappointment visit. I was taught by Drs. Root, Weed and Smith that the rearfoot post was simply added to an orthosis to allow the foot to have four degrees of motion at heel contact and stabilize the orthosis against the tendency of the patient's foot to deform it.

    This statement was not referenced in the article and this statement is false. The area of the foot which is most medial to the STJ axis is the medial calcaneus and therefore, is the area of the foot that has the most potential to cause increases in STJ supination moment with an increased application of plantar force at the medial heel such as from a Blake Inverted Orthosis, DC Wedge Orthosis, or medial heel skive orthosis modification. Ed, Don and Stu, how can you justify making this statement without references and how can you ignore the mechanical fact in your article that the medial arch is often, in many feet, lateral to the STJ axis??

    Contrary to what I have seen written in now a few articles, Mert Root did not base neutral position on Wright's study. Without going into a lot of detail, which Eric Lee has already done so in his articles on Mert Root(Lee WE: Podiatric biomechanics: an historical appraisal and discussion of the Root model as a clinical system of approach in the present context of theoretical uncertainty. Clinics Pod Med Surg, 18 (4):555-684, 2001; Lee W E: Merton L. Root: An appreciation. The Podiatric Biomechanics Group Focus. 2(2): 32-68, 2003) , Mert Root thought of the concept of STJ neutral position while in a shower one day in 1954, a full ten years before Wright et al published their paper!!!

    "One morning in 1954, just by luck I guess, I was standing in the shower without any thought about the foot and all of a sudden the concept of neutral subtalar joint positon flashed into my mind. I could hardly wait to get to the office to substantiate it. That's what turned out to be the key to my being able to contribute to podiatry." M.L. Root, 1989 (excerpted from Lee WE: Podiatric biomechanics: an historical appraisal and discussion of the Root model as a clinical system of approach in the present context of theoretical uncertainty. Clinics Pod Med Surg, 18 (4):555-684, 2001.

    Mert Root did not "misinterpret research". Mert Root was much more aware of STJ rotational positon than D.G. Wright ever was (I previously worked with Gib Wright, the primary author of that study, and it is much more likely that Wright misinterpreted Root's work than Root misinterpreted Wright's work, in my opinion!). To suggest in your article that Mert Root made a "leap" based on only one article shows your complete ignorance of the literature available on the history of Root's discovery and development of STJ neutral position, shows how little you know about how much Mert Root knew about foot function and is basically disrespectful to Dr. Root's significant contributions to podiatry and other health professions that use foot orthoses for treatment of mechanically-related foot and lower extremity disorders.

    Again, another error in your article. Neither Mert Root, John Weed, or Bill Orien ever advocated using talo-navicular congruency as a method of determining STJ neutral position. In fact, John Weed made a point to us to not use TN joint congruency for determining STJ neutral position during our second year of podiatry school since he said it did not represent STJ neutral and would be affected by the amount of forefoot adductus deformity the foot displayed. TN joint congruency, as a method of determining STJ neutral, did not start at CCPM but apparently first started at the podiatry colleges on the east coast of the US. I first saw it being used by Langer Labs in about 1981 as the proper way to position the foot during negative casting.

    In addition, I don't know where you got the idea for the following statement "This is a position in which any evident forefoot varus or valgus angulation relative to a supposed ideal rearfoot position (one-third the total available range from inversion to eversion; i.e., a "vertical" calcaneus) is eliminated." This is totally false and again shows a lack of understanding on your part. Please provide any reference by Dr. Root that says that the foot is casted with the forefoot varus or valgus eliminated during casting. Who taught you how to do negative casting, Ed, Don and Stu?? Certainly it wasn't Dr. Root, Dr. Weed or Dr. Orien!!

    I liked the nice touch of having a full page ad for "The Bottom Block Seminar" in the page facing the introduction to your article in Biomechanics Magazine. I'm sure that had nothing to do with your article being published. ;)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
  25. Jeff Root

    Jeff Root Well-Known Member

    I only have time for a real brief reply. I think the author is confusing the concept of the rearfoot post with the triplane heel cup. My father was adamant about the importance of maintaining the plantar, non-weightbearing contour of the heel during casting and the cast modification process, in order to create a triplane heel cup in the orthotic shell. That’s why he did not advocate applying any plaster expansion or making any modification to the medial, or plantar medial aspect of the heel on the positive cast. You enhanced this concept by actually shaving plaster off of the plantar, medial heel (Kirby or medial heel skive technique) to increase the supination moment produced by the shell to enhance the control of the triplane heel cup.

    A rearfoot post is an extrinsic modification to the orthotic shell which is designed to incorporate an axial grind (ie frontal plane orthotic motion) or can be applied flat (ie. no motion). This should not be confused with intrinsic rearfoot posting, which is incorporated into the frontal plane orientation (ie correction) of the cast. Extrinsic rearfoot posting is not necessary on all orthoses but it is typically added for convenience since it is more convenient to remove it than to add it after the orthotic device has been dispensed. My own personal orthoses that I have been wearing for years have no extrinsic rearfoot post since I don’t have any problem with excessive rearfoot motion or excessive calcaneal eversion.

    Thanks you for taking the time to provide such a detailed response to the Biomechanics artilce.

    Jeff Root
  26. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Answer to Eric's post 26 Sept 06

    The point that I am making quite specifically here is that the repositioning of the foot acts to change the relative lever arms of the GRF and the windlass mechanism to decrease the resistance to supination and increase the force necessary for pronation. In other words orthoses that reposition the foot into greater supination are more effective at helping the foot function better as opposed to walking continuously along the peak of the roof. The foot is not passive in this.

    No, its simple mechanical advantage.

    The latter, although certainly the CNS controls voluntary muscle function and has a significant effect.

    Not very long…..that’s why people need their orthoses like they need eyeglasses. Eyeglasses do not improve the structure of the eyes, just the function.

    Why don’t we just start with walking and standing.
    You are ignoring the fact that as you supinate the foot with the muscles the STJ axis moves laterally and the foot is off any orthotic.

    Interesting theory but it has nothing to do with gait. What is actually measured with the emed in the GSU study is that supination with Sole Supports shifts COP medially onto the MLA.

    A true custom orthoses will do this to a variable degree dependant on the patient’s anatomy. What the exact “average” is could be researched but is irrelevant to clinical practice. You want to give each patient the maximal amount of correction that they can tolerate with their individual anatomy without oversupinating.

    The ease of resupination of the foot is positionally dependant and has everything to do with the inclination angle of the first metatarsal. It is not just magnitude of force but does the position of the foot create a situation, in pronation, where the windlass is more of an isometric stabilizer of the first MTP than an active plantarflexor, as it is in supination.

    Irrelevant in gait. The muscles are making fine adjustments. Read Dananberg’s article on Sagital Plane Biomechanics. Once again, you are trying to introduce a force that is not present in gait or standing and when applied lifts any foot almost completely off the orthotic in MLA.

    What is more direct than FULL CONTACT. Done best by the medial heel skive….what a joke!!!
    Yes 2cm under the heel too. Fat bad, bursae, skin etc. Redistribute force per unit area over a far greater area and finer tuning of forces necessary to resupinate is possible.

    Very simple. Decreased lever arm for the GRF to apply torque around the axis of the 1st ray; decreased distance from the MTP to the medial cuneiform.

    Once again….with muscles….the Sole Support respositions the foot with direct force, the muscles and in this case ligaments (windlass) have an easier time resupinating in this new position.


    Ed :)
  27. Jeff Root

    Jeff Root Well-Known Member


    You have just stated the primary flaw in your entire paradigm. Clinically, a patient doesn't require the maximum amount of correction they can tolerate in order to control their symptoms. The patient requires only enough correction to eliminate their symptoms or to improve their function to a clinically acceptable level. In your paradigm, by virtue of the casting technique you endorse, you assume that ALL feet require more control than the average functional orthosis provides. This is simply false! Using your eyeglass comparison, it would be analogous to saying that since some individuals have a vision problem which is under-corrected, we should give everyone the strongest vision correction that they can possibly tolerate. In reality, the amount of correction required to create ideal vision is highly individual and must be determined on an individual patient basis.

    Any competent orthotic laboratory will allow the practitioner to determine how much correction the individual patient requires and will enable this correction to be designed into the prescription. For example, Root Lab’s Rx has four levels of medial arch height for the practitioner to choose from, in addition to the amount of plantar fascia accommodation (if any), the amount of intrinsic inversion or eversion they want in the cast, the amount of intrinsic or extrinsic rearfoot and forefoot correction, and a multitude of other accommodations, modifications, and shell configurations to increase or decrease the amount of "control" as required. Like prescription eyewear, orthoses should be designed (prescribed) for the needs of the individual patient and not based on some average. Your assumption that everyone needs to have their re-supination moments increased is inherently flawed.

    It is true that some practitioners may not take full advantage of the prescription or may not thoroughly consider the prescription needs of an individual patient, in order to get the best possible outcome. That is not a flaw in “Root Theory” but rather is a flaw in how the theory is implemented by some practitioners.

    Jeff Root
  28. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Ed, Thanks for the long reply

    Now that you have replied we can start the debate.

    Originally Posted by efullerEd, I don't think this quite answers my question. A patient stands on an orthosis and the orthosis creates different locations of forces acting on the foot. Which forces, from the orthosis, cause the arch to be higher? Where are they applied?

    And Ed answered:
    Ed, I understand your point. My question was asking something different. How does an orthosis reposition the foot. You sort of answered this later, but you got my hackles up by not answering what I asked.

    Originally Posted by efuller Now, I would agree with you that it would be possible for the muscles to cause supination of the STJ and plantar flexion of the first ray, but this is a central nervous system response to the orthosis.

    How does the foot, on top of the orthosis, get repositioned to gain mechanical advantage. Your orthoses are sitting on the floor and your walk up and step on them. In the absence of the orthosis your foot would achieve equilibrium in a certain position. How does an orthoses create moments acting on the foot so that the foot will sit, in equilibrium in a different position.

    Answer 1: they work through simple mechanical advantage.
    How do the orthoses change mechanical advantage? A they change position. Question how to they change the position?

    Originally Posted by efuller Are you saying that your orthoses work through a centreal nervous system response or are you saying that pressure in the arch from the orthosis raises the arch, or a combination of both?
    Answer 2: I think you chose both. Could you describe how pressure in the arch changes the position of the foot?

    Originally Posted by efuller How long will the muscles be able to hold the foot in this position?
    How long do you think that foot can tolerate high pressure in the arch? Pressure high enough to alter the position of the foot

    Originally Posted by efuller I'm not sure that you can say that supination begats more supination all of the time.
    Ed, I'll put it more strongly. Your contention that supination begats more supination is wrong for the vast majority of feet. Reasoning will follow below.

    Originally Posted by efuller If you supinate the STJ a little bit, with the muscles, there will be a lateral shift in the center of pressure causing a greater pronation moment acting on the foot especially in the more medially deviated STJ axis foot.
    Later, in my original post I describe the race between COP movement and axis movement. I said that with a little bit of STJ supination from muscular activity there is a lateral shift in the center of pressure. The center of pressure will move laterally and the STJ axis will move more latterally. I am saying that the COP moves more lateral than the axis does, thus createing a greater pronation moment.

    Originally Posted by efuller Now, if you supinate the foot enough the entire plantar surface, and lateral surface, of the foot will medial to the STJ axis and then there will be a supination moment from ground reaction force.
    Ed, I disagree. This has something to do with gait, especially in the foot with a more laterally deviated STJ axis. A small amount of unexpected supination will cause the entire contact point of the foot to be medial to the axis and the foot will supinate to end of range of motion. aka sprained ankle. Or it will not supinate to end of rom and you may get peroneus brevis avulsion fracture of the 5th metatarsal.

    What is measured, in the GSU study is that there is pressure in the arch when the patient is standing on them. Did the study measure the amount of supination? Did it measure posterior tibial EMG activity.

    My contention is that as you stand on MASS casted device you feel discomfort in the arch and you use your posterior tibial muscle to supinate the foot to raise the arch of the foot so there is less pressure in the medial arch. Don't get me wrong, this can be a good thing for some feet. However, it is a bad thing for other feet. When I wore the devices you made me, after 2 hours I had pain in my posterior tibial muscle. Trying to go longer than that gave me pain in my arch. (My theory is that since the PT tendon hurt, I used it less and let the foot back down onto the arch where there was high pressure, which caused the pain.) So, this is how you can have a more supinated position with pressure in the MLA. So Ed, how do you think an orthosis changes the position of the STJ, if it is different from above?

    Originally Posted by efuller

    On average how many degrees do your orthoses supinate/invert the STJ? Is this enough to make a significant difference in the location of the STJ axis?

    Ok, why an orthosis works may be irrelevant to the clinical outcome. However, we are not in the clinic. We are in an academic forum debating how orthoses work. You have made the contention that supination begats supination and I tried to make the point that a few degrees of supination that you get from standing on an orthosis is not enough to significantly move the STJ axis. So, the question is relevant to our discussion. Jeff's point was a good one. Not everyone needs to be in their MASS position. Not everyone needs to be more supinated. I am questioning your assumption behind MASS. I am also questioning whether or not your devices supinate the foot enough to get into the position where the positive effects of supination that you describe happen. So, how many degrees the STJ supinates on the device is relevant to the theory of how you believe your devices work. It would be a nice way to prove your theory is correct. Your theory, as I understand it, is that the foot functions better in a more supinated position and your devices put the foot in a more supinated position. An important part of the evidence for your theory would be the number of degrees, on average, the foot supinates on your device. And does clinical outcome correlate with number of degrees inverted?

    Originally Posted by efuller You refer to transverse plane and frontal plane forces. The forces perpendicular to the transverse plane are a function of body weight and in the vast majority of activities will be orders of magnitude larger than forces parallel to the transvers plane. Therefore the position of force relative to the transverse plane projection of the axis will tend to be much more important than forces perpendicular to other planes.
    I'm not quite sure what you are saying, but I have to disagree with the notion that ease of supination has everything to do with the position of the first ray. More important is magnitude of pronation moment on the STJ.

    Originally Posted by efuller
    STJ axis movement and Center of pressure movement. Which one moves faster with STJ supination. My bet is on the COP. If cop moves faster laterally than the axis there will be an increase in pronation moment. A few degrees of supination from muscular activity will cause the cop to be at the lateral border of the foot. There may be some feet, with a laterally position stj axis that the axis may move further laterally, but I would bet that the majority of feet, with muscular supination will not increase supination moment from ground reactive force with a supination motion.

    I disagree, it is relevant in gait. I'm not quite sure what you are saying. Could you expand on how Sagittal plane biomechanics relates here. Try standing and supinate your foot a little bit. Is there a significant shift in the location of force under your foot?

    Originally Posted by efuller
    On the other hand you could believe that the orthosis causes a direct supination moment, but that is best done with a medial heel skive, which you do not use.

    It's not the amount of contact, it's the location of center of pressure. I will agree that pressure in the arch will tend to shift the center of pressure more medially. The question then becomes how the pressure in the arch is transmitted to the bones to change their position.

    Originally Posted by efuller

    (To supinate the foot you would want to push on the bony structure furthest medial to the STJ axis which is the medial tubercle in most feet. In most feet the medial arch bones are deep to 2cm of soft tissue and cannot be directly pushed on by an orhosis.)

    I disagree. The plantar fat pad and skin are nearly as thick in the arch as in the heel. In the arch you have to add the intrinsic muscles and extrinsic tendons along with the nurovascular structures.

    Originally Posted by efuller
    I don't understand how increased inclination of first met decreases pronation moment. Are you saying that there is more force under the first met in this position? Position does not correlate with force.
    When I mentioned pronation moment, I was referring to the STJ. There was more to this question and answer than was quoted.

    Originally Posted by efuller
    If you supinate your foot, with muscles, and then plantar flex your metatarsal maximally and it just touches the ground the center of pressure will be lateral.
    The orthosis applies an upward force to the foot. Any upward force applied to the metatarsal will dorsiflex the metatarsal. Therefore there is no plantar flexion moment acting on the metatarsal, from the orthosis. If the forces were applied proximal to the meatarsal, only the force of gravity would pull the metatarsal down until ground reaction force stopped the downward movement with a force equal to the weight of the metatarsal. For the metarsal to be able to accept more ground reactive force there would have to be a source of plantar flexion moment, from within the foot, to resist the dorsiflexion moment from GRF. Ed, what creates these internal moments.

    Ed, how does direct force from the orthosis change the equilibrium position of the foot?

    Ed, this is a really good debate. It really gets my juices going.


  29. Jeff:

    I'm glad that you entered into this discussion with Ed. I totally agree with you in your analysis of the Ed's theory that everyone needs "maximum supination correction" in order to function the best. Ed seems to think that he has come onto something new by making a non-rearfoot posted orthosis that has good conformity to the medial arch of the foot. I seem to remember ordering this same orthosis 20 years ago from the lab I use by simply ordering a polypropylene shell with an inverted balancing position, minimal medial expansion thickness, no rearfoot posting and a full length topcover.

    If you read his article, from my perspective, it seems like Ed has come up with this idea of "maximal arch support without rearfoot posting" without having taken the time to read about your father's work on the history of the subtalar joint neutral theory, without reading the available research and theories on subtalar joint biomechanics and without having investigated the very wide range of orthosis design that is available from orthosis labs around the world. In fact, after graduating from NYCPM (where he probably got the idea that TN joint congruity equated with STJ neutral position) in 1983 he spent a lot of time in his garage working on his foot orthosis ideas:
    I agree with you that his theories and orthosis application of his theories are inherently flawed, as you say above. From all the marketing lectures he does at various venues around the country, all the unsolicited DVDs that he sends out to podiatrists around the country, and all the testimonials he has on his website, it seems as if Ed's main goal is to sell as many high-arched, non-rearfoot posted orthoses as possible and try to convince podiatrists, physical therapists and chiropracters that no one understands foot and lower extremity biomechanics quite the way that he does since, before he arrived on the scene a few years ago, we were all working in the dark without his glowing vision to enlighten us.
  30. Jeff Root

    Jeff Root Well-Known Member


    I have to say, I admire Ed Glaser’s energy, enthusiasm, and marketing effort. There is no doubt, in my opinion, that there are many orthoses produced on a daily basis that fail to provide the therapeutic benefits that the patient requires because they are either poorly prescribed or poorly made. A poorly prescribed orthosis can be the product of a clinician who fails to properly evaluate or recognize the patient’s biomechanical condition or functional requirements, or who doesn’t properly understand biomechanics and orthotic therapy. A poorly made orthosis can be the result of laboratory standards that diminish the functional benefit of the clinicians prescription (ie over-fill, or improper cast modification, etc.). As a result, many custom orthoses have a generic look or nature to them. However, this isn’t because better quality orthoses aren’t available, it’s because those practitioners choose to order poor quality devices!

    Ed’s educational experience isn’t surprising to me, as I have heard many former students at certain podiatry schools tell me that the orthoses they saw in podiatry school were very generic looking. Therefore, we need to question the quality of education in orthotic therapy that students receive. We all know that there isn’t enough time dedicated to orthotic therapy during school and that education doesn’t stop once you graduate. There are many excellent ways to enhance one’s understanding and ability in orthotic therapy after graduation.

    There are a number of good, custom orthotic laboratories out there who are working very hard on a daily basis in an effort to provide their customers with high quality, functional orthoses to help patients achieve positive outcomes. There are many practitioners who achieve excellent results from their current methods and while using their current laboratories. Those practitioners that Ed is marketing to who are apparently achieving poor outcomes don’t need a new paradigm, they need to get up to speed on the old paradigm so they can get good outcomes like many of their colleagues! This requires better education, higher expectations of what can be achieved with orthotic therapy, or a better laboratory.

    If you believe Ed’s claim that he is adding 30 new customers per day, and if he has any reasonable level of customer retention, he will soon own the largest laboratory in the country. Hmmmm? I’m not sure how you get the capacity to add 30 new customers per day unless you have a ton of money to pre-train employees. I could not accept 30 new customer per day as it would kill my quality!

    I really haven’t been able to learn much form Ed’s website about his products or methodology. But to answer Eric’s question, I think Ed endorses plantarflexion the forefoot or supinating the midtarsal joint while casting in bio-foam. This is one of the most common casting errors in conventional, suspension casting. It creates an orthotic shell that has a transverse peak at the MTJ area with a greater sagittal plane inclination angle of in rearfoot and a greater sagittal plane declination angle in the forefoot. This does increase the STJ and MTJ supination moments. It is also frequently uncomfortable or results in breakage of acrylic orthoses, since the shell must flex under load. The only way this device can be tolerated is if you use an orthotic shell that is flexible. If the shell must deflect under load in order to be tolerated, then it isn’t supporting the foot in the position in which the foot was casted! This is why I asked Ed about his apparent conflict of mechanical objective. I am patiently waiting for Ed Glaser to respond to my previous posting asking him about the nature of his orthoses. I don’t believe you can comfortably support the foot in the position he describes, which is why he probably uses a more flexible shell. Am I right Ed????

    Jeff Root
  31. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Keep on truckin'

    :) Eric,
    I could create a really big post here by reiterating what you said, I said, you said etc. but for brevity I will pull out just your questions and try to answer them.

    Firstly, the fact that it happens is irrefutable. We see the wear patterns on the topcover and it was measured at Georgia State University and we measure it with our own F-scan among other proofs not the least of which is the clearly visible changes in the gait cycle. We theorize that this happens because actually touch the foot in the arch, unlike most orthoses. We apply a force before the last one degree of pronation.

    They supinate the foot by lifting the arch. The 1st met comes down possibly due to many factors like gravity, the shoe, the pull of the plantar fasciae, and possibly due to the intrinsic and extrinsic musculature of the foot. I am sure many factors are involved….but it certainly happens.

    We push up on the MLA.

    Between 7.465981 nanoseconds and 9650.365981 years exactly. Just joking...the muscles change function but the orthotic simply repositions the foot to make them more efficient.

    Right up to the point where you get too old to walk or die. Unless you use our new Deathotics. (Please excuse my morbid sense of humor....at least I don't enjoy watching children burn like Simon). We have folks running ten miles per day on Sole Supports for many years and ordering second, third….and tenth pairs because they love them so much.

    From muscular activity is the operative phrase here. We are talking about the effect of the orthotic during gait and you are saying what if one chooses to voluntarily roll the foot laterally with the muscles and lift it off the orthotic. Then how is it going to work. Two very different animals.

    Just doesn’t happen. If it did we would be out of business instead of growing at a fantastic rate. NO orthotic will prevent all ankle sprains or peroneus brevis avulsion fractures of the 5th metatarsal but our experience is that sprains are reduced. I think that this is because moving the downward force of the body medially with MLA support creates a resistance to sprains and the supinated foot is intrinsically more stable.

    Much more importantly it showed that the Sole Support was unique in that it shifted a greater percentage of the force at toe off to the 1st met head while posted orthoses shifted that force laterally.

    No question, you feel Sole Supports and you don’t feel most orthotics. Maybe its because to change something you must apply a force (We do and most don’t) and unless you are numb you will feel it.

    My theory is that changes in muscular contraction are indicative of a good device and you should work through the discomfort to achieve the results. I just got an email from a practitioner who was shocked that when he just tried our product for the first time on an 87yo woman, she adapted to them faster than the recommended break in and now refuses to take a step without them. If she can do it…you can too.

    Totally, just by lifting the arch. Why is that so hard to understand?

    Agreed. We just got our new high speed camera last Thursday while I was away on a lecture trip. I will begin collecting data when I get back from Hawaii and I hope to answer that question with data. We love research. I proposed research comparing the effectiveness of Sole Supports to the Medial Heels Skive….Kevin declined. I guess I will have to do it myself.

    I guess that’s why those resupination forces need all the help they can get.

    Most everyone resupuinates at toe off, to greater or lesser degree. Obviously we accomplish this; I am just helping those forces that are already extant to work more efficiently.

    Where’s your data? We are working on a piece or research equipment that will put this quesiton to bed...more on that later....if it works.

    There you go again voluntarily rolling the foot out and saying that if we roll the foot off the the orthotic, then how does it work? You are right…NO orthotic works when you voluntarily roll the foot into some position that is irrelevant to gait.

    Lets apply this same absurdity to posted orthoses. If you use the muscles to supinate the foot, the force moves laterally….even with a Big Post (the Medial Heel Skive). Then the post does not move the COP medial to the imaginary axis either.

    Not if you use the muscles to voluntarily roll the foot into supination. So all posts, skives and indeed all orthotics must be bogus based on this weird logic.

    Your whole argument is based on: What if we use the MUSCLES to voluntary try to supinate….then what is the orthotic doing? Nothing….the muscles are doing it.

    This is so easy to test, believe me it will be the first thing I do with my new camera. One can easily see with the naked eye that Sole Supports is more effective at supinating the foot than Skives or posts…..the camera will give us the answer. Unlike anyone else….I am not afraid to test our product in the laboratory against skives and posts because the answer is seen with the naked eye….all I need is to slow it down, capture it and measure it.

    So all orthotics work through soft tissue. We all have the same obstacle to overcome.

    I never changed the magnitude of force just the lever arm length. See the diagram.

    Muscles again….already answered it before.

    The Windlass effect for one. According to this statement, no orthotic will increase the pressure on the first met….the research shows that ours does and yours does NOT. The foot DOES resupinate even with NO orthotic, we just help it along by repositioning the foot so that it has an easier time to accomplish this.

    Simple, by pushing up on the arch.

    Eric, you are right this is fun….but I have to say our recent expansion is taking up more and more of my time and I have precious little to debate here. Please forgive me if it takes weeks for me to answer. I travel so so so much….I just want to relax in Hawaii and sit on the beach and play my Uke. I am hoping to pick up a new Goodall guitar while I am there (if my wife will let me get another one). Thanks for the kind words about the way I treat my employees and my family….I was equally impressed with you. You are a great thinker of enormous integrity. It is a discredit to the profession that you were not allowed to keep teaching. I found out recently (from the lady who let you go) that she found you to be one of the most competent, brilliant, interesting lecturers and a man of great creativity and passion for biomechanics. It was only with deepest regret and protest that she did what she was told….and she felt it was a dis-service to the California college. It is a travesty when financial motives of those in power create such a blaring conflict of interest as to prevent students from getting what you have to offer. It would be the same as if some big lab in Australia donated a bunch of money to LaTrobe U. under the condition that they fire Craig because he is questioning the efficacy of custom orthoses. It angers me.

  32. Jeff,

    I agree with the above. I suppose that Ed's educational experience is common to many podiatrists who were trained in my era and, unfortunately, it is also common now. However, most podiatrists I talk to have no clue about all the modifications that can be made to an orthosis that are available with a good orthosis lab. That is because most podiatrists here in the US are simply are not getting the training they need to be experts at foot orthosis therapy since they need to spend so much time with other subjects, especially surgery.

    In reading the article in Biomechanics magazine that Ed, Don and Stu wrote, it is obvious that they are approaching orthoses differently than most anyone else that I know. I don't mind people doing things differently, like they are, since there are many ways to make people comfortable and function better with foot orthoses. However, when they argue with me and tell me my orthoses don't work, without ever having seen any of the 10,000+ pairs of orthoses I have made in the last 20 years, and having no clue as to the variety of orthosis I prescribe for my patients, then that is what bothers me. I think they would be very surprised that I also make orthoses that are quite high arched for some patients and have done so for the past 20+ years. Of course, they can't possibly work as well as Sole Support insoles, since I haven't taken the course on how to cast feet properly....what a joke!!! :confused:

  33. Irrefutable? How do you measure a positional change with an F-scan? Answer: You can't!

    How do you know this? That is, how do you know the first met is plantarflexed? As I have stated previously, and Craig too, the study published showing increased pressure sub 1st MPJ does not mean for certain that the 1st met is plantarflexing.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain this. I think it may have been more helpful to those who wish to learn from this site if you could take the time to give more depth to this "mechanical analysis".

    Ignoring the throw away line here Ed you have absolutely no evidence that the muscles are "more efficient".

    I also enjoy watching snake oil salesmen flogging a product until everbody gets bored of the same old same old that spills from their lips. But my very favourite is watching snake oil salesmen being public flogged by the academic community until they shut the .... up

    Not sure that such muscle activity is voluntary- see Hoffman reflexes.

    Nothing unique here and furthermore your contention here is not supported by othe published research see Van Gheluwe and Dananberg, Nester etc..

    No problems with vested interest and bias there then!

    I'm sure your piece of equipment will be well received by the academic community. You may want to just do a search to ensure you don't infringe on any copyrights or patents though.

    Bored now.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  34. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Funny…you test supination resistance by pushing up on the MLA but your orthotics never touch the MLA. If heel wedging was a far more accurate and effective way of supinating the foot why would you not just put a little hinged platform under the heel with a handle that inverts the heel? Answer: Because MLA support is the most effective way of controlling the foot….its just that your previous experiments (referenced nowhere) failed because you did not go far enough (never even approached the MASS position) and you failed to calibrate (making them either too rigid or too flexible).

    I am still waiting for you to name one lab other than Sole Supports, Inc. that uses:
    Gait referenced MASS position casting
    Goes full contact in that position
    Digitally Calibrates the orthotic flexibility to match the downward force of the body.
    Prepares the foot for Heel Contact by supinating….leveling the anterior facet PRIOR to heel contact.

    NOR have you answered the question I asked over and over and over: What position do you cast the foot in? and don’t give me a namby pamby answer like it depends….you know that’s not true.

    It seems all of this NEW information is referenced NOWHERE except our article in Biomechanics Magazine this month (available at www.solesupports.com). Paradigm shifts are so difficult for those that have built their career on outdated technologies.

    I disagree….In any triplane system such as the STJ…what effects one plane will effect all three especially in the closed chain. Supination resistance is an excellent term to describe one or all three planes.

    Some orthotics just take the pronated foot and try to push up from the ground to balance around the “stj axis” (a fantasy) and others reposition the foot into greater supination by raising the MLA to change its function in many ways including:
    Moving the COP more medial than wedging
    Moving the “stj axis” laterally
    Increasing 1st ray plantarflexion….decreasing re-supination resistance by the windlass effect.
    Leveling the anterior facet prior to heel contact causing a time delay or dampening effect on pronation.
    Decreasing the lever arm of the GRF on the 1st met head.
    Changing the pull of the peroneus longus, PT tendon and the Tib. Ant reducing the deforming forces causing PL tendontitis, PT disfunction, and Shin Splints.
    Reducing the pull on the Adductor Hallucis (reversing bunions… article coming out on this soon by an independent researcher).
    Unlocking the 1st MTP reducing / reversing hallux limitus and removing the deforming force of subungual exostosis, and IP sesamoid.
    Preventing the dorsal jamming of the Met cuneiform joint….saddle bone deformity.
    Transfering force onto the 1st met removing the pathologic forces causing many foot conditions including: metatarsalgia, tyloma sub 2,3 and 4, IPK, stress fracture, morton’s neuroma thus allowing the body to heal itself.
    Moving the medial column over the lateral column decreasing tailor’s bunions.
    Decreasing the distance from origin to insertion of the plantar fasciae curing plantar fasciitis and heel spur.
    Leveling the calcaneus causing equal weight distribution on the tuberosities of the heel reducing sub calcaneal bursitis. BTW the article you wrote on Axial view of the calcaneus has holes in it you could drive a truck through and is completely bogus in its findings and conclusions. Please ask me to elaborate….that’s a slam dunk.
    Moving the sharp dorsal lateral edge of the calcaneus out from behind the Achilles tendon reducing retro calcaneal bursitis.
    Externally rotating the talar head reducing irritation on the accessory navicular or enlarged medial navicular.
    Placing the ankle mortise in a more anatomical position both in the transverse and frontal planes reducing lateral ankle pain.
    Externally rotating the tibia reducing patello femoral tracking disorder, reducing the chance of ACL injury, decreasing Q angle which reduces lateral band syndromes.
    Reducing forces favoring anterior pelvic tilt and internal femoral rotation helping to relieve the one of the causative factors in:
    Piriformis syndrome, SI pain, disc bulging, facet syndrome, hip arthritis, Sciatica, Greater trochanteric bursitis.

    Etc. Etc. etc.

    NONE of which occurs when you tilt a pancake in the frontal plane off an inaccurate cast taken in the wrong position.

    That was an attempt to be kind….the STJ axis, along with its shadow and therefore the entire SARLE theory falls apart on the most rudimentary analysis.

    Once again illustrating that publication and truth are not synonymous.

    So your argument is: It must be right….after all …. Smart people think so. NOT….the worst reason to do anything is because others do it. It is unfortunate that these smart people are basing their investigations on a flawed concept that you came up with. It is a house of cards built on a flawed premise. I have so much to say on this subject….I will have to write a paper on it….already in the works.

  35. Ed,

    For your reading pleasure, here are some references on other researchers who feel the subtalar joint axis is a very important consideration in the biomechanics of the foot and lower extremity. For your information, I did not come up with the concept of the subtalar joint axis. Other researchers have been talking about its importance for over 60 years! BTW, I hope I am the reviewer for your article when it comes through the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association or the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery for review. Should be fun. There is a first time for everything....Ed Glaser actually getting a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal????:p

    Manter JT: Movements of the subtalar and transverse tarsal joints. Anat Rec, 80:397-410, 1941.
    Hicks JH: The mechanics of the foot. I. The joints. J Anatomy. 87:25-31, 1953.
    Inman VT: The Joints of the Ankle. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1976.
    Isman RE, Inman VT: Anthropometric studies of the human foot and ankle. Bull Pros Research, 10:97-129, 1969.
    Close JR, Inman VT, Poor PM, et al: The function of the subtalar joint. Clin Orthop, 50:159-179, 1967.
    Sarrafian SK.: Anatomy of the Foot and Ankle, J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1983.
    Van Langelaan EJ: A kinematical analysis of the tarsal joints. Acta Orthop. Scand., 54:Suppl. 204, 135-229, 1983.
    Huson A: Biomechanics of the tarsal mechanism. A key to the function of the normal human foot. JAPMA, 90:12-17, 2000.
    Benink RJ: The constraint mechanism of the human tarsus. Acta Orthop Scand, 56: (Suppl) 215, 1985.
    Lundberg A, Goldie I, Kalin B, et al: Kinematics of the ankle/foot complex: plantarflexion and dorsiflexion. Foot Ankle Int, 9:194-200, 1989.
    Lundberg A, Svensson OK, Bylund, C, et al: Kinematics of the ankle/foot complex-Part 2: pronation and supination. Foot Ankle Int, 9:248-253, 1989.
    Lundberg A: Kinematics of the ankle and foot. In vivo roentgen stereophotogrammetry. Acta Orthop Scand, Suppl 233:1-24, 1989.
    Lundberg A, Svensson OK: The axes of rotation of the talocalcaneal and talonavicular joints. Foot, 3:65, 1993.
    Spooner SK, Kirby KA: The subtalar joint axis locator: A preliminary report. JAPMA, 96:212-219, 2006.
    Van Gheluwe B, Roosen P, Desloovere K: Rearfoot kinematics during initial takeoff of elite high jumpers: estimation of spatial position and orientation of subtalar axis. J Appl Biomechanics, 19:13-27, 2003.
    Van Gheluwe B, Kirby KA, Hagman F: Effects of simulated genu valgum and genu varum on ground reaction forces and subtalar joint function during gait. JAPMA, 95:531-541, 2005.
    Piazza SJ: Mechanics of the subtalar joint and its function during walking. Foot Ankle Clin N Am, 10:425-442, 2005.
    Nester CJ: Review of literature on the axis of rotation at the subtalar joint. The Foot, 8: 111-118, 1998.
    Root ML, Weed JH, Sgarlato TE, Bluth DR: Axis of motion of the subtalar joint. JAPA, 56:149, 1966.
    O'Connor KM, Hamill J: Frontal plane moments do not accurately reflect ankle dynamics during running. J. Appl. Biom. 21:85-95, 2005.
    Zographos S, Chaminade B, Hobatho MC, Utheza G: Experimental study of the subtalar joint axis: preliminary investigation. Surg Radiol Anat, 22:271-276, 2000.
    Phillips RD, Lidtke RH: Clinical determination of the linear equation for the subtalar joint axis. JAPMA, 82:1-20, 1992.
    Morris JL, Jones LJ: New techniques to establish the subtalar joint's functional axis. Clinics Pod Med Surg., 11(2):301-309, 1994.
    Van Den Bogert AJ, Smith, GD, Nigg BM: In vivo determination of the anatomical axes of the ankle joint complex: an optimization approach. J Biomechanics, 27:1477-1488, 1994.
    Zifchock RA, Piazza SJ: Investigation of the validity of modeling the Achilles tendon as having a single insertion site. Clin Biomech, 19:303-7, 2004.
    Lewis GS, Kirby KA, Piazza SJ: Determination of subtalar joint axis location by restriction of talocrural joint motion. Gait and Posture. In press. 2006.
    Lewis GS, Sommer HJ, Piazza SJ: In vitro assessment of a motion-based optimization method for locating the talocrural and subtalar joint axes. J Biomech Eng. 128:596-603, 2006.
    Payne C, Munteaunu S, Miller K: Position of the subtalar joint axis and resistance of the rearfoot to supination. JAPMA, 93(2):131-135, 2003.
    Siegler S, Chen J, Schneck CD: The three-dimensional kinematics and flexibility characteristics of the human ankle and subtalar joints-Part 1. Kinematics. J Biomech Eng, 110:364-373, 1988.
    Engsberg JR: A biomechanical analysis of the talocalcaneal joint-in vitro. J Biomech, 20:429-442, 1987.
    Pierrynowski MR, Finstad E, Kemeesey M, Simpson J. Relationship between the subtalar joint inclination angle and the location of lower-extremity injuries. JAPMA, 93:481-484, 2003.
    Leardini A, Stagni R, O’Connor JJ. Mobility of the subtalar joint in the intact ankle complex. J Biomech, 34:805-809, 2001.
    Leardini A, O’Connor JJ, Catani F, et al: Kinematics of the human ankle complex in passive flexion; a single degree of freedom system. J Biomech, 32:111-118, 1999.
    Arndt A, Westblad P, Winson I, et al: Ankle and subtalar joint kinematics measured with intracortical pins during the stance phase of walking. Foot Ankle Int, 25:357-364, 2004.
    Scott SH, Winter DA: Talocrural and talocalcaneal joint kinematics and kinetics during the stance phase of walking. J Biomech, 24:743-752, 1991.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2006
  36. Perhaps other labs don't do the above because it is unproven, whereas more "traditional" techniques have a better track record.

    Moreover, taking you third point here:
    "Digitally Calibrates the orthotic flexibility to match the downward force of the body."

    Since the downward force of the body is not constant, how is this possible? Answer: it's not

    Taking your fourth point:
    "Prepares the foot for Heel Contact by supinating….leveling the anterior facet PRIOR to heel contact."

    Prove it. You have no evidence for this what so ever.
  37. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    Thank you

    Even though many of the above referenced articles have nothing to do with the axial nature of the STJ, I certainly agree that it does serve to make my discoveries that much more important when so many have obviously made the mistake of accepting the idea without question.

    NO you did not invent the idea of STJ axis, but you did build your entire SARLE theory on it…and it is false.

    It would certainly be an obvious conflict of interest for you to review my article so I am sure your intellectual integrity will cause you to decline the review.

    How about answering my questions? :confused:

  38. EdGlaser

    EdGlaser Active Member

    You are referring to the track record of more "traditional" techniques being no better than prefabs.

    Luckily there is a therapeutic range that works. Looking for and measuring exact quantities in the foot, which is a changing device is folly. We have identified the approximate center of that range in tens of thousands of orthoses and are the only lab in the world even trying to measure the force the orthotic applies to the foot in every single orthotic in order to achieve a level of accuracy that is clinically acceptable. Most, like yourself, just give up, take a wild guess and settle for a tilted pancake that is no better than a prefab. What is the science behind the amount of arch fill you use?

    When I get back from Hawaii, I will be taking and posting some high speed photographs of heel contact with Sole Supports as compared with posted orthoses in see through shoes.

    Just what is blaringly evident with the naked eye…but the high speed pics will follow.

  39. Ed:

    From the comments that you have made to me in this public forum, I must come to the following conclusions:

    1. You know much more about the subtalar joint and subtalar joint axis than I do.

    2. You know much more about foot orthoses than I do.

    3. You know much more about foot and lower extremity biomechanics than I do.

    Because of this, I have asked myself lately, "Why debate the issue with Ed since he knows so much more than me?" There is really no point in continuing these discussions with you since there is so little that you don't already know.

    I'm sure you can find much smarter people to debate with, other than myself, regarding your opinions on foot and lower extremity biomechanics, foot orthoses and foot and lower extremity pathology. Therefore, I will no longer devote any more of my time in further discussions with you.

    Have a happy life.
  40. Nat

    Nat Active Member

    Reviving an old thread here...

    I caught Ed Glaser's lecture in 2005 in Las Vegas and have used his lab as my primary lab for the past year-and-a-half. I myself am an orthotic user and have a pair of the Sole Supports along with devices from numerous other labs.

    I have had far more satisfied patients than with any other method/lab I've used in the past. My own personal devices are noticeably more effective than other "Root-style" devices I've used in preventing flare-ups of my plantar fasciitis. The Sole Supports actually work! The other ones...not so much.

    I'll leave the biomechanical theory discussion to all of you, but his devices actually do something for me.


    Edit: I think part of what makes Glaser's system so effective in private practice is that once one learns how to do the casting technique, it removes the guesswork and vagaries of neutral position casting. With neutral suspension casting one has to decide on supine v. prone. Then one has to decide upon which method to use to feel for STJ neutral. Then one has to feel for pronated LA-MTJ axis. Then one has to hope the plaster doesn't deform while it dries. Then one has to choose on heel wedge size plus intrinsic v. extrinsic FF wedge. Then one half-arbitrarily selects flexible, semi-flexible, or firm shell material.

    After all that, someone at the lab who has never seen the patient eyeballs what he thinks is the appropriate soft-tissue expansion fill! When someone at the lab eyeballs the "correct" shape, doesn't that throw aside every step that came before it???

    With the Bottom Block method, one weighs the patient and finds the end-ROM. Simple and consistent!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2007

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