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Jan 5

Written by: Cherri Choate, DPM
1/5/2011

The New Year is the trigger for many of us to make resolutions for change.  Perhaps it can also be a time for orthotic change.  What type of change?  I can think of a few orthotic related items that could be accomplished every January and February:  

   1)  Refurbish orthotics
             The timing for orthotic refurbishing is challenging.  Who is actually responsible for routine evaluation of orthotics to determine when refurbishing is necessary?  Most practitioners inform patients, on the day of orthotics dispensing, that the topcovers will only last a limited time, so they will need to get them recovered eventually.  Seldom do patients remember this, until their feet become painful and then the recovering is "emergent."  Perhaps every January the office could send out a letter to patients to remind them of indications that the topcover and addtions could be ready for replacement.  This information could include signs such as topcover thinning, flattening of rearfoot posts, and cracking forefoot extensions.  
   2)  Assess shoes and current orthotics
            Worn out shoes and orthotics are often not a problem until the patient begins to experience pain and or dysfunction.  During January and February, perhaps the office staff could take out the orthotics and shoes for the practitioner to evaluate during the visit.   This would only take a few moments, and a great deal of information could be gained about the current state of both the shoes and orthotics.  It may even start a converstation about poor orthotic habits, or the desire for a second pair of orthotics for a different style of shoes.
    3)  Refresh lab information/changes
            Throughout the year most orthotic labs send out both product and educational information.  The information is often overlooked due to time constraints.  Since January is a notoriously slower month for patient volume, this may be an ideal time  to glance over materials from labs or reveiw their website so you are up to date with products and policy changes.  Even orthotic prescription forms can change, so by purging all the old order forms, your orthotic ordering experience should become more efficient.

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