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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 100 Biomechanical Guidelines #37: Major Stability can be Attained with Full Root Balancing of Forefoot Deformities

Taken from Root Lab brochure. Dr Mert Root, my teacher, my mentor, my friend. I miss you. Passed away after a long illness in 2002.
http://www.root-lab.com/about.htm

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:
  1. Morton's Neuromas
  2. Hammertoes
  3. Midfoot Sprains
  4. Metatarsal Fractures (including Jones type)
  5. Metatarsalgia
  6. Tailor's Bunions
  7. Pes Cavus Problems
I hopefully will be able to introduce you to Root Balancing. I owe it to Dr Root, an unbelievable giver, and healer. His son Jeff, and daughter in law Kathy, run his lab still, even though Dr Root passed away in 2002. A terrible loss.


These are forefoot varus impression casts of the foot. When you stand them up, they lean inward. A Root Balanced Orthotic Device will attempt to place these heels straight up (heel vertical)



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.

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.