Can Custom Orthotics Help With Back Pain?

For most people, finding a treatment for lower back pain is a trial and error process, and the majority of people want to avoid surgery where possible. Custom orthotics could be a way to help elevate back pain without the costs and time associated with more evasive options like surgery and medications.

custom orthotics can help with back pain

What are custom foot orthotics?

A custom orthotic is a specially made device to go within your shoe to improve the function of your foot and ankle. The orthotic is designed to alter the current mechanics and alignment to relieve excess stress and strain on the lower leg and foot. The orthotic is ‘custom-made’ as the shape of the orthotic is made to the precise measurements of your foot with the use of a 3D scanner and exact correction added for precisely what each of your feet needs and help restore your natural gait.

What is your natural gait?

Your natural gait is how your natural posture and your foot’s interface on the ground coincide. If either of these are out of alignment, your feet will naturally make compensations, which in the long run can lead to extras stress, and strain on parts of your body including the lower back, hips and pelvis.

Evidence

There is currently not enough conclusive evidence to definitively recommend custom orthotics to completely eradicate lower back pain. However, there are mounting studies of evidence which suggest custom orthotics helps reduce twisting of the lower legs and gives support to the legs which helps align the pelvic tilt. This improved body posture and in turn, helps relieve tightness and tension in the lower back muscles.

 

A recent study in the United States identified characteristics of a person’s gait as contributors to chronic low back pain. Participants in the study, all suffering from low back pain, experienced a 68 per cent improvement in low back pain symptoms, after being fitted with foot orthotics.

 

Another study examined foot posture and function and its possible relationship with low back pain. The study included a large patient population of 1,930 subjects. It concluded that foot orthoses might have a role in the prevention and treatment of lower back pain. Because the incidence of pronated foot function (rolling in of the ankle and flattening of the medial arch) was found to be associated with low back pain—with a higher incidence in women.

How they work

You can have semi-custom or full-custom ‘functional’ orthotics.   The semi-custom orthotics are tailored to your feet and are great for growing kids or adults who need only a mild amount of correction or support.   Full-custom orthotics are made to the exact measurements of your feet using the 3D scanner and are great for people who require a more substantial amount of control to their feet or have a specific area that needs offloading.   Both are made from a semi-rigid 3D printed material shell.   If you’re experiencing back pain or are interested in getting custom orthotics, Swan Podiatry can assist you in Darwin and talk to you about any of your concerns. Contact us today or call 0428 976 360 for a full assessment.

Author

Cable Mills

Cable Mills

Cable Mills is the Senior Podiatrist at Swan Podiatry and Orthotics in Darwin.
He studied Podiatry at Charles Stuart University and has worked in busy podiatry practices in Darwin and Melbourne since graduating in 2011. He has a passion for sport and biomechanics and finds it rewarding to be able to make a difference to people’s lives.
Cable opened the first practice of Swan Podiatry and Orthotics at the beginning of 2016. His areas of expertise are sports injuries, orthotic therapy, general treatment, nail surgery, fracture management and diabetic care.