Do Orthotics Work and Are They the Cure to Back Pain?

Believe it or not, a pain in the rear is often caused by problems with the feet!  The average person walks approximately 2000 miles per year.  That’s a lot of foot-mileage!  Your feet support the weight of your entire body and the way the contact the ground directly affects how your back absorbs compression of the spine. It’s little wonder that people develop conditions in their feet and that the end result is back pain.

Flat foot is an example of a foot condition that can cause pain to the lower back. Flat foot happens when one or both feet have abnormal arches.  When a person with flat foot stands, their inner foot or arch flattens, and the foot may roll too far towards the instep. This condition results in decreased hip and knee stability and abnormal motion, which can contribute to increased and unnecessary strain on the back.

Plantar fasciitis is another foot condition that may contribute to back pain.  It consists of inflammation of the sole of the foot.  It results in an involuntary change to the foot’s mechanics.  The knee bone being connected to the hip bone (if you remember the children’s song) is the domino effect that Plantar Faciitis causes, and so it can lead to knee, hip and back pain when left untreated.

A sports medicine physician is qualified to find the root and cause of back pain, and should be regarded as an essential part of your seeking relief. This consultation offers you education as to the many causes of back pain, which is the first step in creating your comprehensive medical diagnosis for the treatment of it.  And if it turns out that your back pain is caused by a foot condition such as flat foot or plantar fasciitis, the remedy may be simple AND effective: custom foot orthotics.

Many people wonder if they work.  Those with custom foot orthotics are a good resource for verifying these claims.  But not all orthotics are created equal.  Over the counter foot orthotics are popular because they are inexpensive and available right there on the shelves of most drug stores.  But bear in mind that they can be less effective than custom foot orthotics.

The big difference is the “custom” component of foot orthotic selection.  How could an over the counter orthotic possibly compete with a custom one? The whole point of orthotics is to offer correction to weak or inadequate foot function/support.  The over the counter models may offer comfort and cushioning for the foot, but since everybody’s feet and body are different, a custom-made foot orthotic to realign your posture (and correct your particular overall misalignment) may be superior for offering back pain relief. Custom foot orthotics will provide accurate, measured and proper support for the arch, feet, and legs.  In turn, everything from the spine to feet will be in a better position to function throughout the day.

Still, not everyone with flat foot or plantar fasciitis is a candidate for a custom foot orthotic.

Sports therapy clinics offer both remedies and consultation in this regard as they routinely work with back pain sufferers and sports medicine physicians to diagnose and treat the root cause of back pain.  In cases where back pain is being caused by feet, the treatment might well include custom foot orthotics, if the cause of back pain traces back to issues with the knees, hip or back, sports therapy clinics can also treat those issues.  And if your treatment plan requires a combination of custom foot orthotics, physiotherapy and medication, a sports therapy clinic is your one stop shop for all of these.

For more information about custom foot orthotics for treating back pain please call 416-800-0800 or visit