Gait Training

Your Feet

Your feet are bestowed with the difficult job of supporting your entire bodyweight. In order to perform this job efficiently it’s important that all the muscles and bones in your feet remain in the proper alignment. Even small changes in this structure can create strain on the muscles and irritation of the joints of your foot.

gait       gaitshoes

We will take a look at your walking gait while barefoot and compare it with shoes on using the Optojump system.  Based on the results objectively and visually we will develop individual exercises specifically to build efficient walking mechanics to minimize the risk of pain in the lower back and extremity region.

Common symptoms of improper foot mechanics include

  • Foot pain, Bunions
  • Heel pain
  • Hammer toes
  • Flat feet
  • Aching arches
  • Shin splints
  • Leg/Knee pain
  • Low back pain
  • incorrect posture

Custom Foot Orthotics

Orthotics are orthopaedic shoe inserts that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalances. They gently force the bones and joints in your feet into their correct functioning position, reducing the strain on your feet. Walking, running and standing will all become more comfortable when you wear your orthotics.

The orthotics are made by taking a precise impression of your feet within a dense foam material. From this impresssion the orthotic, a flexible molded plastic device, is prepared.

The orthotics can be worn in most shoes, including running shoes, heels, dress shoes and casual walkers. They can also be made to fit into rollerblades, ski boots and ice skates. In most cases they can be transferred from shoe to shoe.

Foot Treatments 

Our treatments are appropriate for painful conditions of the feet. Treatment programs include muscle therapy, gentle mobilizations of the bones and joints, stretches and exercise. Information on proper foot wear and home care for your feet is also included in our individualized foot programs.

A Six-Step Orthotic Screening Process
1. Adjust the spine first.
2. Check for excessive pronation and supination utilizing the Optojump Next.
3. Collect objective and visual data of the gait (stance, swing, load response, L & R differentials, stride, etc…) 
4. Analyze and consult data
5. Adjust the foot for the orthotic accordingly.
6. Explain the proper shoes to wear with an orthotic


What percentage of patients typically need orthotics?
Approximately 80% or four out of five patients above the age of 40 could benefit from orthotic therapy. The indicators will usually show these patients usually have excessive pronation, creating a pronator teres abdomen muscle imbalance that will ultimately create pelvic tilting.

What are some of the indicators that Dr. Bardwell looks for in patients?
Two simple indicators to look at are different heel wear and the patient’s posture. Dr. Bardwell shows how to move the foot into a position with orthotics where it can help balance the muscles in the lower extremities. Once Dr. Bardwell utilizes this procedure, the patient can see some benefit.

What are the different types of orthotics that are available today?
There are two general groups. The first is rigid/hard and the second is flexible/semi-rigid. There are also two diverse laboratory techniques: weight-bearing casting and non-weight-bearing casting.

What characteristics does Dr. Bardwell look for in an orthotic product?
Because the foot has three arches: the medial longitudinal arch, lateral longitudinal arch and anterior transverse arch, it is important that an orthotic support all three. Since the foot is built for flexible locomotion, Dr. Bardwell finds that semi-rigid and flexible orthotics are excellent for stabilizing the foot/ankle complex. While Dr. Bardwell is not implying that rigid orthotics can’t be of value, he thinks a semi-rigid type of orthotic works best most of the time.

What are the payment procedures you use for orthotics?
For the most part, orthotics are not expensive, so the patient will many times pay cash out of pocket for them or insurance may cover the costs. The normal procedure is to have a patient pay half up-front. That covers Dr. Bardwell’s cost in the unlikely event the patient says they don’t want them or something happens.

Should patients buy more than one pair, say for athletic and dress shoes?
A lot of times, different shoes need different orthotics. For example, a woman in a pump puts the weight-bearing aspect more on the fore-foot. This type of shoe needs a different support than a work-out shoe would.

What should be considered in a shoe?
Finding the appropriate shoe is simple. You primarily want to make sure the heel isn’t already worn; if you see the heel is worn, replace the heels.