How Foot Orthotics Help Lower Back Pain

Foot Orthotics Help Lower Back Pain

Foot structure and inappropriate posture is widely recognized as one of the causes of lower back pains. Factors such as the bone structure, alignment of feet and the use of foot orthotics in reducing lower back pain have led to the conclusion that the feet play a role in the experience of lower back pain.

The height of the arch of the feet is directly related to the pressure exerted on the spine when running or walking. Inappropriate alignment of the foot can cause changes in the position of the pelvis; differences between the lengths of the legs may also change the alignment of the pelvis and exert pressure on the muscles around the spine to cause lower back pain.

Orthotics are devices that are worn to correct foot and ankle problems without surgery. These are meant to change the alignment of the foot or to make up for the variation in the lengths of the legs that may cause lower back pain. As mentioned before, the uses of foot orthotics reduces lower back pain and these are widely used by chiropractors to treat back problems.

While there is a lack of consensus on the role of orthotics in helping treat lower back pain, the few theories that describe the effect of orthotics are:

Reducing load on the Muscle &  Shock absorbtion

Reducing load on the Muscle &  Shock absorbtion

This is a purely mechanical action that orthotics are said to take when used in back pain treatment. Foot orthotics corrects the alignment of the foot that sets it in a position where muscles do not have to overexert to function.

The positioning of the foot is directly related to the pressure that is exerted on back muscles; if the positioning is corrected, the back does not have to put up with as much pressure that relieves back pain.

Additionally, custom foot orthotics can insure a good arch is maintained.  This is very important as the arch act as a shock absorber. The inability of the foot to act as a shock absorber means that the ground force must be absorbed higher up the chain and is often made up for in the knees and back. Overtime this leads to impact related injuries.

Offering Stability

Offering Stability

One very common cause of lower back pain is the instability of the feet that exerts unhealthy amounts of pressure on the pelvis and the back. The use of custom made orthotics would change the way your feet fit into your shoe and offer greater support when your foot makes contact with the ground.

As your footsteps become more stable and your body does not have to make up for imbalance by exerting greater muscle control, the strain on the back to maintain posture is lowered. This causes back pains to subside.

Eliminating Leg Length Variation

Eliminating Leg Length Variation

If the legs are not of the same length, people suffer from changes in gait and discomfort while standing as more pressure is applied on the other leg. If this condition is prolonged, this can cause the pelvis to tilt and would also extend the pressure imbalance onto one side of the back. As one side of the back takes on more pressure than the other, it may cause lower back pain.

The use of custom foot orthotics to raise the height of the shoe on one foot helps people develop healthy postures and fix the change in pelvic alignment to reduce back pain.


Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute clinics are greater Toronto area based sports medicine, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinics that offer a wide range of services such as sports medicine physicians, massage therapists and active release techniques, among others.

To learn more about us, get in touch with us by calling at 1-844-223-7364. Our services are offered in the greater Toronto area at Sheppard, St. Clair and Thornhill.

About the author



I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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