Dr Mert Root, along with several other brilliant doctors (Weed, Orien, Sgarlato), revolutionized the treatment of foot problems with their theories in the 1960s and 1970s. A Balanced Root Orthotic Device is the standard that all orthotic devices are modifications. To design a balanced orthotic device, you are eliminating the intrinsic tilts in the foot, the forefoot varus, forefoot supinatus, forefoot valgus, forefoot pronatus, plantar flexed first rays, plantar flexed fifth rays, etc, etc. Being a purist, Dr Root preached full correction of these corrections. Disciples followed that espoused modifications for comfort, sometimes they were right and sometimes they ruined the technique. Most labs will make the classic Root Balanced Orthotic Device if asked, but their standard is their version of a Modified Root Balanced Orthotic Device (normally function loses to comfort). But, the debate will rage for decades whether the purest 100% correction of these natural tilts in the foot is that important, or whether 80% correction is okay. Or 70%. Or 60%. I believe it is important when using the Modified Root Balanced Orthotic Device to clearly document what type of correction you are using. If the symptoms are not improving, further correction towards the classic Root Balanced Technique can be ordered. I know this works, and will dedicate a few posts to this topic. I use so many types of orthotic devices, but the Root Balanced Orthotic Device is the best for many conditions. These include:
- Morton's Neuromas
- Midfoot Sprains
- Metatarsal Fractures (including Jones type)
- Tailor's Bunions
- Pes Cavus Problems
These are forefoot valgus impression casts. When you stand them up, they lean to the outside. A Root Balanced Orthotic Device will attempt to stand them straight up (heel vertical).
This is simply an introduction to a hot topic in podiatry. As more and more labs go computerized, and the health care provider has less and less control of the final product, the consumer may have to be more demanding. I have made a good living converting modified Root Balanced Orthotic Devices to classic Root Balanced Orthotic Devices to achieve better stability and better symptom relief. Talk to your podiatrist whether they use classic Root or modified Root techniques. Root technique is like the paint brush however, the individual provider must have the freedom to paint.