How Foot Orthotics Help Low Back Pain
For many if not most patients with lower back pain, finding a treatment or a combination of treatments that provide effective pain relief is a process of trial and error.
Most available treatments for low back pain do not always result in a favorable outcome for all patients, even when the condition is similar between patients. The same general rule holds true with the use of foot orthotics.
The Difference Between Prescription And Non
Prescription orthotics are the most expensive because they are designed to fit your feet exactly. Semi-custom are in the middle in terms of price as they accommodate people with low, medium, or high arches . Most orthotics are not customized and are the cheapest.
Our three choices reflect the different types of customization. There has been some research on prescription vs. non-prescription orthotics that concluded that both will improve your gait initially, but after 4 weeks, the non-prescription orthotics will find a decrease in your economy of gait. If you’re not sure if orthotics will make a difference in your back pain, you could buy a less expensive pair, and if you notice a difference, understand that they won’t be as effective after a few weeks. If you have multiple pairs of shoes, you could put the cheaper orthotics in shoes that you don’t wear as often, and buy a higher quality pair to put in shoes that you wear more often.
Types Of Orthotics For Feet
Orthotics can be customized in a variety of materials. A doctor will write a prescription for an orthotic material based on what condition and symptoms a person has.
The orthotic types can range in materials from rigid usually made from materials such as carbon fiber or plastic to accommodative, which is very flexible and cushioning.
Some orthotics are full-shoe inserts similar to the insoles present in many athletic shoes. Others are a smaller heel insert that fits into the back cup of the shoe.
Ankle-foot orthotics are another option that has not only a shoe insert, but also an upright portion that extends from the heel upward and around the calf.
Doctors may recommend using orthotics in conjunction with braces, other shoe inserts, or taping, such as kinesiology taping.
Orthotics dont universally help all people with conditions that affect the foot and ankle. There are many complex considerations surrounding the effectiveness of orthotics, including:
- the training and experience of the person making the orthotic
- the doctors prescription
- the shoe in which a person wears them
- how often a person wears them
There are studies that support the use of orthotics for treating foot and ankle problems. However, many of them stress that the orthotic must be well-fitting and worn correctly.
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Theory Of Foot Orthotics For Lower Back Pain
Mechanical problems in the feet can negatively affect the way a patient walks or stands, which over time places strain on the lower back, causing pain.
Examples of common foot problems that can lead to an irregular posture and/or walking pattern include:
- Plantar fasciitis, which can lead to chronic heel pain and/or arch pain
- Nerve pain or numbness in the foot
- Bunions and bunionettes
- Excessive foot pronation or supination
In general, if a shoe insole can help the patient achieve a healthy posture and gait, this correction can allow the soft tissues in the lower back to heal, reducing pain.Theoretically, any problem with the foot or ankle resulting in a compromised posture or gait can lead to lower back pain, as well as possible pain in other weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees and ankles.
When Do You Need Extra Foot Support
Shoe inserts and custom orthotics are used widely for foot problems. Common diagnoses for which various types of foot support are prescribed include flat arches, bunions, plantar fasciitis, diabetes-related neuropathy, and more. If you think you have any of these, speak with your healthcare provider and/or podiatrist.
But what about back problems?
Perhaps the most common spine-related reason for custom orthotics is a leg length difference. A leg length difference can unlevel the pelvis which in turn may affect your spinal alignment and muscle balance.
It works like this: As the short leg tries to reach the ground , it essentially drags the pelvis on that side down with it. The result is the pelvis and hip on the short leg side become habitually lower than on the long leg side. A custom-designed insert can help even out the effective length of the legs as well as restore balance to your pelvic position, especially in weight-bearing activities. The pelvis functions as a base for spinal alignment and movement, so this type of correction may exert a big influence on your back health.
Other than that, most experts agree that custom orthotics and other types of foot support are not geared towards any specific spine-related diagnosis. Rather, they are considered to be potentially useful for general maintenance.
So how does foot pronation increase low back pain? Basically by one or two mechanisms.
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How Can Orthotics Help
Orthotics are often one part of a treatment regimen for many foot and ankle concerns. For example, a doctor may prescribe orthotics in conjunction with treatments such as more supportive shoes as well as physical therapy exercises.
A doctor may also recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, to reduce pain and inflammation.
Doctors often recommend orthotics in conjunction with these treatments because orthotics can correct feet that arent ideally positioned. For example, when feet overpronate, they roll slightly inward or downward. This is usually the case for those with very flat feet. Wearing orthotics can help provide additional arch support to try and prevent this.
Orthotics may also provide additional support and cushioning in key areas of the feet, such as the heel or ball of the foot. Because orthotics are custom-made, the person making them will consider the individuals footwear needs.
Ideally, orthotics and other treatments can help a person avoid more invasive treatments, such as surgery.
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Your Path To Pain Free
The orthopedic shape and customization of SOLEs footbeds provide the neutral alignment and industry-leading shock absorption you need to reduce pain, prevent injury and put your best foot forward.
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Casual Sneakers Can Lack Support
Butts also singles out casual sneakers, such as the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, as problematic for being flat, narrow, and lacking support. He notes that Chucks were designed for feet in the 1950s which, he says, were narrower than feet today. People have just gotten bigger, he says.
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Heel Pain Diagnosis And Treatment
So when a patient presents to my office with any type of heel pain, I do not just treat the symptoms. There are some practitioners who like to “cookbook” their treatment. For example, they get a diagnosis of “plantar fasciitis” and just use the same protocol regardless of the underlying cause. They may use cortisone injections in all these cases or oral medications or simple exercises. These all can alleviate the pain, BUT the underlying cause is still present and in time will rear its head again and can be worse from the ongoing damage that is still evolving.
In my approach, and with 32 yearsâ experience doing it successfully, after I reach an initial diagnosis of the presenting problem, I then look at the structure and biomechanics of the lower extremity. This gives me a secondary diagnosis, “what caused the primary problemâ? With that secondary diagnosis I can treat the underlying cause and usually the symptoms will improve. I do have the option of adding symptom relief at any time in if the pain is severe or slow to resolve.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How to relieve lower back painHow to sleep with lower back pain
If you have lower back pain, it may be easier on the back to sleep either on your side or face-up. To relieve lower back pain while sleeping, you can try putting a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side or under your knees if you sleep face-up. This can help reduce pressure on the lower back. You can also try putting a small pillow or a towel under your lower back when sleeping face-up.
Is lower back pain a sign of pregnancy?
Lower back pain is not a sign of pregnancy. It is the result of added weight bearing during pregnancy causing overpronation that can lead to experiencing lower back pain. This is contrary to prior thought where low back pain during pregnancy was caused by Lordosis, or an over backward leaning of the body to balance the weight of the developing child.Its possible for lower back pain to be a sign of pregnancy. Most commonly, lower back pain develops later in the pregnancy, starting at month five. However, the pain can begin earlier, as early as eight weeks.
What can cause lower back pain in a women?What organs can cause lower back pain?Can constipation cause lower back pain?
Yes, in some cases constipation can cause lower back pain. When stool backs up, it can create pressure which can lead to lower back pain.
Is walking good for lower back pain?What is the best medicine for lower back pain?Can gas cause lower back pain?
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So What’s The Solution
Find back pain relief by giving your body a stable base to walk on by wearing supportive insoles. Orthotic insoles help evenly distribute pressure, support the arch of your feet, cradle your heel’s natural cushioning and prevent excessive lateral movement. This cradling support helps ensure neutral alignment in your body and corrects the common issues that can lead to problems with your alignment. The result is that your body’s natural biomechanics are optimized, preventing excess strain in your knees, hips and back.
Can Superfeet Help Your Patients With Low Back Pain And Other Conditions
Superfeet: The Original Support since 1977Superfeet® founders, doctors Dennis Brown, D. SC and Chris Smith, D.P.M., combined over 90 years of experience and biomechanical expertise to develop the distinct Superfeet shape. Pioneers of prescription graphite orthotics at their Northwest Podiatric Laboratory, Dennis and Chris found that the majority of people upwards of 80% would benefit from a biomechanically correct insole.
So they founded Superfeet Worldwide in 1977 with a simple mission: To design and manufacture affordable professional grade orthotics with as much medical knowledge as they could at a fraction of the price of custom-crafted orthotics.
That original mission holds true today. Initially the company focused on developing affordable, custom insoles for skiers, but now the product line includes full-length and ¾-length insoles for all styles of footwear and types of activity.
AN UNSTABLE FOOT CAN LEAD TO:
Superfeet insoles provide an extraordinarily effective tool to help improve your patients footwear.
REPORTED CONDITIONS WHICH HAVE SHOWN POSITIVE IMPROVEMENT FROM USING SUPERFEET
ACHILLES TENDONITISThere are many causes of Achilles tendonitis, seen in patients with all different foot types. Most often, Achilles tendonitis can be linked to increasing activities over a short period of time, particularly increased running, walking or hiking distances too quickly before the tendon can develop the strength and flexibility to adapt to the new activity.
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Shock Absorbing Shoe Inserts For Back Pain
Cushiony gel inserts can be cheap or very expensive, depending on where they are purchased. Some of these inserts cost under $20 at your local drug store, while custom made gel orthotics can run several hundred dollars or more.
The idea behind these products is to lessen the stress on the spinal structures by absorbing impact at the feet when walking, running or doing any athletic activity. This seems fine in theory, but is really quite a naïve notion.
In virtually all cases, patients who experience considerable relief from these devices do so by the simple power of placebo alone or simply enjoy the increased comfort of the devices. Remember too that many back pain conditions are not even structurally-induced, so there is no need to lessen any shock at all. These inserts are best used to increase comfort when exercising and prevent foot pain.
Custom Foot Orthotics Control Foot Movements
Depending on your specific foot mechanics, custom foot orthoses can be used to control motions of the foot that may be transferred up the leg and to the lower back. Excessive movement at the foot can be transferred into rotational movement of the leg. This rotation is transferred up to the knee, potentially leading to knee pain, or can pass through the knee up to the hip, causing the muscles in the lower back to work over-time to stabilize. If this is the case, custom foot orthoses may be used to control the movements of the foot and reduce this cascade effect up the leg to the hip and lower back.
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Minimalist Shoes Usually Not Recommended
Minimalist shoes sometimes called barefoot shoes because of their very thin soles are not good for your back, says Fu. Those who already have back issues typically find these types of shoes do not help alleviate those problems and may cause some back pain.
Again, these shoes will rotate the pelvis differently than shoes with a thicker sole. For what its worth, Butts notes that when it comes to wearing minimalist shoes, its up to each person to decide whats comfortable for them.
Do Magnets Help Relieve Low Back Pain
March 7, 2000 — Treating people with chronic low back pain with one particular type of magnet did not help relieve the patients’ pain, a study in the March 8 issue of TheJournal of the American Medical Association reports. But experts say that much more research is needed on magnet therapy before concluding that it doesn’t work.
Magnet therapy is an alternative medicine that has become increasingly popular for healing and reducing pain. Worldwide, $5 billion has been spent on magnets to treat everything from back pain to headaches. But very little research has been done to determine whether magnet therapy actually works.
“Magnets have been around for a very long time,” says the study’s lead author, Edward Collacott, MD. “There are reports that Cleopatra slept with a magnet on her forehead to help preserve her youth, and certainly we are seeing large numbers of people using them today. Even though we did not observe a reduction in low back pain with magnet use in our study, I am not prepared to say they don’t work. Right now I would say that if people are having success with them in treating their condition, they shouldn’t use this study as evidence to throw them out.” Collacott is medical director for physical medicine and rehabilitation at the VA Medical Center in Prescott, Ariz.
The researchers refused to reveal the manufacturer of the magnets used in the study, so WebMD contacted BIOflex Medical Magnetics Inc., one manufacturer of magnets used for therapy.
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How Do Insoles Help Back Pain
The principle that the correction of foot alignment and biomechanics may alleviate stress and pain from the body.
In order to know the relationship between the feet as well as the rest of the body, the foot and its position in the human skeleton must first be understood. Each foot has 3 arches that allow it to function properly. The arches are composed of 2 arches that pass wisely down the feet called longitudinal medial and lateral arches and a transverse arc that crosses the foot.
The arches have many functions but the most important role for this article is to support weight bearers by providing shock absorption for body weight. When standing and walking, the arches help stabilize the body. The arches have an elastic property, which lets the foot flatten after a foot strike and when weight is removed, they return to its original form.
The feet are the pillars of our body because we are biped and, sadly, spend much of our waking day on our feet. And these arches can begin to flatten over time and lose their elasticity. Now if this happens symmetrically on both feet, it would not be so much a problem but would tendency to flatten more on one side than on the other for one reason or another. This leaves us turbulent. If the bodys base is not adequately aligned and maintained, the integrity of the above structures is at risk.
How Can Sorbothane Insoles Help
Lower back pain is one of the most common pain problems that people deal with in the United States. Since the cause of your pain may be from standing or sitting for long periods of time, being overweight or poor shoes, insoles can help to reduce pain spots.
Sorbothane Insoles provide shock absorption, support and cushioning to your feet. The additional padding can protect your joints and give you the pain relief you need.
Sorbothane Insoles are built with long-lasting material and can be beneficial to your feet and personal health in a variety of ways. Find your perfect insole today!
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