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More Research Linking the Feet and Head

In a previous post, I discussed some of the research done by Dr. Brian Rothbart, a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), which shows a definite relationship between the feet and the head.

In response to what I wrote, Dr. Rothbart added a comment citing some of his more recent research. The full text is available on his site.

After reading the paper, I wanted to go through it with you guys.

The Case Study

Rothbart examined four subjects with cranial radiographs. These pictures were taken (1) without intervention, (2) with a prescribed dental appliance, (3) with some sort of foot orthotic, and (4) with both interventions.

Two of the subjects saw the most improvement when using both interventions. Check out the example below.

Baseline

After intervention

Very cool stuff. But what about the other two subjects?

The Meat and Potatoes

Subject AD saw worsening when using both the dental appliance and the foot orthotic. The confound here, and why this study offers so much, is that AD was not using Rothbart-prescribed insoles, only generic ones.

The author used this piece of evidence as a very important talking point: keep a global view helping someone. He suggests that generic insoles, like the ones AD used, may alleviate feet symptoms while increasingly destabilizing the cranial bones and potentially lead to headaches. This outcome was noticed in AD and is a classic demonstration of treating the symptoms, but not the problem.

Check out two of AD’s radiographs below. Take special note of the second from the bottom (level of the mastoids) before and after intervention.

Subject AD baseline

Subject AD cranial destabilization after intervention

Subject HB was described to have blocked sacrum. This concept makes sense when you see that the data showed improvements with the dental appliance, but not the prescribed proprioceptive insoles; there was a break in the chain.

The treatment of HB is another demonstration of the importance of maintaining a global view. It also illustrates, however, the need to clear up restrictions. As the author mentions, ankle problems may be fixed, but the subject had increased low back pain.

As Rothbart summarizes: “In both of these cases, from a strictly podiatric point of view, the proprioceptive therapy might be considered successful. But from a holistic point of view, the proprioceptive therapy would be considered inappropriate.”

Summary

Keep in mind that this is all my interpretation of the research, but I’d say it definitively shows a link between the head and feet. Care to offer anything? Add it in the discussion below!

1 Comment

  1. Hi, Lance. I’m patient HB. To say everything is connected in the body is a major understatement. I continue treatment and plan to soon have some orthogonal cranial “selfies” : ) When I’m done, I think my experience will show that if you have faulty feet, you must correct that first in order to be able to correct anything else that’s out-of-whack. Glad to offer a patient’s perspective anytime. It’s lovely to see your open-minded, multi-discipline, learn-like-a-sponge approach.

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