Foot Orthotics Can Help with Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a common issue that affects millions of people worldwide. While many associate back pain with problems directly in the spine or muscles of the back, the alignment and function of the feet can play a significant role in this discomfort. Foot orthotics, which are custom-designed shoe inserts, can be a game-changer in managing and alleviating low back pain. Here’s how they work and why they might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

1. Improving Posture

One of the primary ways custom foot orthotics help with low back pain is by improving posture. Poor foot mechanics, such as flat feet or high arches, can lead to misalignment in the ankles, knees, and hips. This misalignment often extends up the body, causing the spine to compensate, which can result in poor posture and back pain. Orthotics correct foot positioning, promoting better alignment throughout the body, and subsequently improving posture. This realignment reduces the strain on the lower back, alleviating pain.

2. Even Distribution of Weight

Foot orthotics are designed to distribute your body weight more evenly across your feet. When your weight is unevenly distributed, certain areas of your feet, and consequently your back, may experience excessive pressure. This imbalance can lead to pain and discomfort. By providing the necessary support to the arches and heels, orthotics ensure that your body weight is balanced, reducing stress on your lower back.

3. Shock Absorption

Every step you take generates a shock that travels up your legs to your lower back. Inadequate foot support can mean that these shocks are not absorbed properly, leading to increased stress and pain in the lower back. Orthotics are made from materials that absorb shock effectively, reducing the impact on your lower back with each step you take. This can be particularly beneficial for those who spend a lot of time on their feet or engage in high-impact activities.

4. Correcting Gait Abnormalities

Abnormal gait patterns, such as overpronation (rolling the foot inward too much) or supination (rolling the foot outward too much), can lead to improper body mechanics and lower back pain. Foot orthotics help correct these gait abnormalities by providing the right support and cushioning where needed. This correction leads to a more natural walking or running pattern, reducing the undue stress on the lower back.

5. Reducing Muscle Fatigue

When your feet are not properly supported, the muscles in your lower body have to work harder to maintain stability and balance. This extra effort can lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort, which often manifests as lower back pain. Orthotics reduce the workload on your muscles by providing the necessary support, leading to decreased muscle fatigue and less pain.

6. Enhancing Athletic Performance

For athletes, especially runners, foot orthotics can significantly enhance performance by providing better support and reducing the risk of injuries that can lead to low back pain. By maintaining proper foot alignment and reducing the stress on the lower back, orthotics enable athletes to train more effectively and recover more quickly.

7. Custom Solutions for Individual Needs

The effectiveness of orthotics largely depends on how well they are customized to an individual’s specific needs. A healthcare professional can assess your foot structure, gait, and specific pain points to design orthotics that address your unique issues. Custom orthotics provide tailored support and correction, leading to more effective relief from low back pain.


Low back pain can have many causes, but often, the foundation of the problem lies in the feet. Foot orthotics offer a non-invasive, effective solution to alleviate low back pain by improving posture, distributing weight evenly, absorbing shock, correcting gait abnormalities, reducing muscle fatigue, and enhancing athletic performance. If you suffer from low back pain, consider consulting with a healthcare professional or your Vancouver chiropractor to determine if custom foot orthotics could be the key to finding relief and improving your overall quality of life.

By Dr. Zavosh: Burrard Chiropractic and Foot Orthotics