Orthotics and low back pain


Low back pain (LBP) has plagued a large number of the United States walking population, over 80%, at one time or another.  This percentage includes athletes of all ages.  If left untreated, LBP may become a chronic issue, meaning the pain lasts longer than three months.  How can this be?  This article will deal with finding relief from LBP through the utilization of custom-manufactured foot orthotics.  The answer to that question will come from the individual who chooses to follow the non-surgical path to finding relief through the use of custom-manufactured foot orthotics by a very experienced maker.

At the start of your knowledge journey as to whether or not foot orthotics can actually help you get relief, you will begin with research of the materials found on the web.  You may look for articles from qualified sources ( like magazines, newspapers, books, etc.), for actual research done on orthotics and low back pain, talk with friends and your doctor, and maybe even find a website devoted to folks looking for the same results as you are.

What you will find are pros and cons to the question, “Are foot orthotics a good solution to low back pain?” Your search will uncover research that educates you about why orthotics may be a good choice for you.  Let me list one such research paper to begin your knowledge journey; “The Effectiveness of Custom Foot Orthotics in Treating Chronic Low back Pain: A Critically Appraised Topic”, International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training, January, 2016.

If available to them, athletes will see their athletic trainer who is able to guide them in the acquisition of custom-manufactured foot orthotics designed specifically for sportswear.  This type of foot orthotic will most often will have a more flexible sole with a supported arch.

Those individuals who participated in the research and actually received custom-manufactured foot orthotics did see relief from their back pain.  A major point of the article was that relief from back pain restored in individuals the movement capabilities they had prior to their back pain incidents.  Another article suggested exercise inclusion to further reduce and or eliminate Chronic LBP.

The research supports the idea of reducing and or eliminating the possibility of another LBP incident by using custom-manufactured foot orthotics.  Then start a movement program to help strengthen weak or vulnerable back muscles.  Walking is a great start.

To reiterate: the key points from the above-name research are as follows; 1) The studies reviewed and evaluated custom-manufactured foot orthotics for effectiveness in patients with chronic low back pain, 2) There was moderate evidence supporting the use of custom-manufactured foot orthotics for low back pain, and 3) The strength of the recommendation received a grade “B” based on somewhat limited evidence.

The findings included the facts that the person who is fitted with the custom-manufactured foot orthotic must not be left alone.   Once the process of fitting, producing, and then finally inserting the custom-manufactured foot orthotic into the individual’s shoes, a follow-up needs to take place.  In some cases, perhaps more than one follow-up review should take place to make certain the individual wears the orthotic daily and during all activities while on the feet.

Furthermore, some very poignant research discovered that foot pronation can lead to low back issues.  It may also lead to problems in the foot, lower leg, knee, and hip.  These areas are more prone to injury in an athlete due to the frequency with which they strike the ground with high g-forces.  All the above-named areas of body can cause an individual to stop moving and use the sofa as a means to heal.  This will only lead to further weaknesses in the body, thereby increasing the frequency and length of the pain.

So as one undergoes the process of finding non-invasive means to relieve back pain, custom-manufactured foot orthotics may prove to be the means to achieving that end.  However, in order to be effective, the orthotics must be worn throughout normal daily activities.  This will provide the biggest opportunity to achieve pain relief success.


About the author:  John Hajewski is a certified strength and conditioning professional with more than 30 years of experience in the areas of health and fitness. He holds a master’s degree in Physical Education and has taught at both high school and college levels. He has served as strength and conditioning coach at University of Wisconsin Whitewater’s Division 3 football and volleyball programs. Hajewski is the author of “How to Make Your Volleyball Court a Conditioning Facility”. He has presented to the National Volleyball Coaches convention numerous times, speaking on speed, agility, and quickness development for volleyball players. Hajewski is also the owner of TopSpeed Training in River Falls, WI.


North Star Podiatric Lab is an ABC-Certified manufacturing facility. Our mission is to provide quality prescription foot orthotics that conform to technical standards as defined by the Prescription Foot Orthotics Laboratory Association. The goal of this letter is to provide you with information useful to your professional practice. If at any time you have questions related to topics on foot care, orthotics and balance, please share your comments by contacting http://www.northstarpodiatriclab.com/contact.

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