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Why Foot Orthotics Matter with Dr. David Wedemeyer

Founder of Solelutions Lab

In this episode we discuss the basics of foot orthotics including when they can be helpful, the clinical application, and why materials matter. Whether you are new to orthotics or a seasoned pro, this episode is a great way to scale up your knowledge from an expert in the orthotic world.

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Episode Transcript

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Hey, Smart Chiropractors, we are back with another featured guest interview today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Dave Wedemeyer of Solelutions Lab, and we’re going to learn a little bit about orthotics, what makes what he does a little bit different as well of some take home messages that you need to know. I’m going to say practicing and seeing people every day in your practice. Dave, thanks for coming on and chatting with us today.

Dr. David Wedemeyer: Hey, thank you. I appreciate you guys doing this.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: You got it. So I want to start with a very general question about orthotics. You know, coming from a novice standpoint, you know, what are orthotics, you know, by textbook definition? And why should chiropractors out there really pay attention to what’s going on under the feet of the patients that they’re seeing each and every day?

Dr. David Wedemeyer: Well, first off, orthotic is a very generic term. It can provide like an orthotics. These are people that provide orthotics for all parts of the body. Cranial vault for children specifically and interchangeably. They’re called custom foot ortho CS CFOs. And so what? As a Chiropractor, I noted in my practice early on, and this was quite a while ago that certain certain problems with the feet seemed to be the ideology of their back pain or knee pain, or they had specific symptoms. And so I just endeavored to learn more about orthotics, started using a couple of companies that made my stuff and Segway into getting the training myself and becoming a pet artist. And now I have a lab full-service lab for CFOs, for chiropractors. So I would say, I mean, look at the industry. We know of one giant in our industry, and they provide a very different thing than I do. But a lot of chiropractors obviously find it useful and use this in their practice. I just don’t think they know why, and they may not do it quite the way that I do it. So my goal was to promote the education that podiatrist or artists and authors get and didactic and to improve upon our knowledge base, basically improving the practice.

Dr. David Wedemeyer: So what I would say is a lot of things are sold out there and they’re not pathology specific, which we could go on. We don’t have the time here for today. And by the way, once you get me talking, I might as well just sit back and drink your coffee on this subject. Here we go. Enjoy. You know, the bottom line is there’s a lot to know. There’s a lot of knowledge. When I endeavored to learn about this, there was really nothing out there in Chiropractic. It’s kind of like, stand on this scanner. And we’ll send you something for your patient. But my question was always why? What is it doing? You know, they’re spending a good chunk of money on it. What is the goal? So we’ll talk later. Or maybe you’ll ask me, I’m going to be doing seminars that were cut off last year because of COVID live, but we’re in the process of updating our website. Lot of new good stuff coming for the practitioner and then doing some live seminars when we can. But we’re going to put an entire 12 hour training seminar where I pare down these years of learning into something useful to my colleagues. So that’s my goal.

Dr. Jason Deitch: That’s awesome. In the time that we do have today, just to give those who are watching kind of an insight as to where you’re going, we’re going with all of this. What what is the main reason, as you mentioned, it’s not just a, I don’t know, even up your legs when they’re uneven or something like that. Number one, what is the reason? And you touched on it a little bit earlier. So if you want to also sort of unfold, what is the difference between your approach and the big, big companies approach and and these, I guess, salt and pepper splattering of a bunch of other companies out there? How does a Chiropractor choose number one, why and who to work with?

Dr. David Wedemeyer: Well, I think because there’s such a paucity of knowledge and training, you should always seek a lab that’s offering biomechanical training. Podiatrists take it seriously in other countries. They don’t do surgery. This is one of their main forms of treatment, so they’ve gotten very good at it, and they’re the ones that really put it together. A lot of the and this is just my experience not to bash other companies or labs. There’s a lot of great ones out there and I know most of the players, but when we’re in school, we were offered a device and insole and. There’s no biomechanical reasoning behind it is my problem with it. Let’s give an example. Plantar fasciitis But what are we doing with the orthotic that might unload the fascia might improve the winless mechanism so that the fashion and trends fix and maybe your posterior tibial tendon are not constantly under duress and causing pain? So we would go through a complete biomechanical assessment eight static and weight bearing weight bearing exam. And from that, deduce, OK, what is the pathology? So for me, just like with the spinal complaint, you have to arrive at a diagnosis. Right? Yeah, you have to know what your treat. Why are you treating it? So in the case of plantar fasciitis and it’s too much to go into here, but I’ll be posting something and maybe we’ll talk about my lab discussion group of providers that use utilize me.

Dr. David Wedemeyer: I lost my train of thought. I apologize. It’s gotten the best of me. But the bottom line is, what are you doing and what are the studies say? What reduces load in that fashion for foot? Vargas wedging A lot of chiropractors don’t even understand what that is, but let’s talk about motion control shoes that are all medically biased on the inside of the foot. Pronation, we hear pronation. Plantar fasciitis is not always an issue or problem of pronation, although we prone and pronation is very important in certain phases of gait. So maybe understanding in what phases of gait should this person be prone and when should they be supine eating? You know, how do they lead up to the heel coming off the ground? And how can we affect that as the foot crosses that, that orthotic? How can we influence that reduce strain on the tissues, improve gait function? That’s what an orthotic is supposed to do. It’s not meant to be just a profit center

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: That makes total sense. And Dave, when you speak about it, you I love it because you get you get technical, you know, your stuff. And I know you’ve studied a lot in the podiatry realm and brought that to, you know, the biomechanics and how we think more holistically as chiropractors. I’d love to have you just how did you get into this stuff? I mean, you know, really diving deep into this, I know has been a careers long passion for you. But what got you started and interested? Was it a patient? Was it a personal story? How did you get so interested in this that you’ve accumulated as much knowledge as you have over the decades?

Dr. David Wedemeyer: I think I just loved jumping down rabbit holes, and in my case, I had a I had some foot issues and they were really exacerbated by a product, a brand I was given and I didn’t know why. And it’s just me. I’m German. If you come park in front of my house, I’m going to drag your car inside, take it apart, you know? So I found some podiatrist who became mentors, and some of these gentlemen are in my lab discussion group. They know a lot more than I do. I stand on their shoulders. I follow them. I went to their seminars, read their books and put this all into practice. And it worked. It worked for me much better than just stand on something and get a shellback, get an orthopedic bag. I had a lot of patients with foot pain. And as I learned more, I’d start looking at their feet and finding their shoes. And so I was not only able to help them with their back, I was able to help them with their foot complaint. So it became a big deal. And from that, I became the only chiropractor in the country that served on the Medicare diabetic foot bill. I had a woman come in my office that had gangrene. She wasn’t being. She was poor. She wasn’t being evaluated properly. I mean, she should have been in the E.R. weeks ago. And the unfortunate thing is she had a total foot amputation. And I said, God, what could have been done for that woman if I was a Chiropractor? Not that you’ll ever see this, and I hope not, but it it bothered me that it progressed that far.

Dr. David Wedemeyer: What could I do? Bottom line The government Medicare gives diabetics type one and type two with certain criteria foot deformities, et cetera. Diabetes type two or I’m sorry, diabetes either one. And they provide them a special kind of shoe that doesn’t have any seams on the inside and accommodate over soft orthotics to offload tissue stress or pressure areas that might become ulcers. Because they don’t heal well, ulcers become problems, they become wounds that don’t heal. So I went really in a direction. The road less traveled as a Chiropractor, but I’m glad I did it because I love what I do now. And then 2018, I thought I could better serve my community of colleagues teaching them this stuff. You know, not that I know everything, not that I’m a guru, but I have enough knowledge. I think that I can make it something they can bring into their practice right away. And if they want, I don’t think it’s a fit. I don’t think everyone needs to offer orthotics. But if you want to do it at that level, you know of the trained professions, I believe I can get you there. So for me, it was really just my own reasons wanting to be better at it. And it morphed into this. And here we are. So now you guys have stuck with me.

Dr. Jason Deitch: There you go. All right. Well, we have a few minutes more anyway. But that’s what I’m curious to know is you mentioned this isn’t for all kinds of Chiropractor. So what kind of chiropractors is this for? I’m hearing a variety of options. I guess everything from it’s very effective locally to help people with, as you mentioned, diabetic neuropathy or foot problems locally and specifically, you know, helpful for low back problems and so on. How does the chiropractor determine this is the kind of thing I should be incorporating into my practice? Or yeah, maybe not so much, because my practice is a different focus or a different specialty. How does a chiropractor know?

Dr. David Wedemeyer: Well, and you know, let’s just be frank. I mean, there’s kind of a divide in the profession is how to provide chiropractic care. I think there’s also a divide when it comes down to orthopedic devices. I think that there’s a large segment out there that would be interested in how I do it or how we do it and would want to learn, I think there’s a segment that will never want that and that’s OK. But I think if you’re going to provide orthotics and not insoles, you should understand the difference. And it has to it has to resonate and fit with you. So I don’t think that all chiropractors are going to be interested in me or in what we offer or what my type of lab offers, which is the standard. You have to be aware. There are insurance companies that won’t reimburse chiropractors for foot autopsies. And it’s based on what they think we do or the brand that they’re used to. And they call that experimental right on their website, Aetna. You can look it up. You have to decide as a Chiropractor, do you want to do this for therapeutic reasons if you don’t like that word, if you don’t like the words evidence based, et cetera? I’m probably not your guy. I mean, that’s as honest and frank as I can be about it. But there is a lot of in between. I think that’s two extreme ends of the profession we’re talking about, and the rest of us are in the middle, and a lot of us do more than just just find a principle. Chiropractor probably is not interested in me, although I do have some that order from me and have learned over the years, and we’re great with that. So I’m just another option, but I’m an option. I believe to do it a much different level.

Dr. Jeff Langmaid: Dave, I appreciate that. I appreciate the candor. I know we did not even scratch the surface on your knowledge. We didn’t even really dove into too much about the foot orthotics themselves, but we’ll definitely get you back on a subsequent episode. I’m going to encourage everybody out there. If you’re somebody that maybe hasn’t explored orthotics in the past, maybe you’re currently utilizing them in practice. But no, there’s a lot more to the game. Or maybe you’re somebody that has utilized them and doesn’t. Now, because of inexperience of some type, I’m going to encourage you to check out Dr. Dave Wedemeyer Solelutions Lab. I can tell you it is absolutely, you know, top of the class in terms of what they are able to provide. And Dave, we’re excited to see you get back out on the road as things get get back at it this year. I know there are a lot of docs really looking for this type of information at the level of knowledge and skill that you provide it. So thanks so much for coming on and we’ll look forward to having you back soon.

Dr. David Wedemeyer: I appreciate you guys. Thank you for the opportunity.

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