Lower back pain – can Orthotics help?
Common causes of lower back pain include:
- Muscular imbalances
- Core weakness
- Leg length discrepancies
- Foot mechanics
- Spinal misalignment
Pain can present either side of the lower back or centrally on the spine with or without referral symptoms down the legs.
With the current initiative as a nation to try and reach 10,000 steps a day, this is brilliant for our well being but at the same time places a lot of pressure on our feet.
If there are faulty mechanics in the feet or a poor choice of footwear this can refer pain up the kinetic chain placing increased pressure on the ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
The foot also acts as a vital shock absorber for your spine whilst walking, running, weight lifting and other impact sports so it is important to have the correct support to help prevent injury.
After a detailed examination of your foot posture and gait analysis your practitioner will be able to determine if orthotic devices will aid the mechanics of your feet thus decreasing pressure throughout the kinetic chain.
There is the option for off the shelf orthotics or custom made orthotics.
As human beings it is more than likely that out feet will have subtle differences between them, i.e the arch height and the position of the back of the foot compared to the front of the foot. A heel lift can also be added to help address the difference in leg length which in turn will balance the pelvis reducing pressure through the spine.
For these reasons custom orthotics are encouraged as they are moulded to each individual foot providing optimum comfort and control.
Your practitioner will also guide you towards the most appropriate shoe needed for your foot type. This will be determined from the physical assessment and gait analysis.
Some people will need a more neutral shoe whereas others will need a more motion control shoe to help limit excessive pronation. The shoe also needs to have the appropriate stiffness in certain areas and mobility in other areas to enable your foot to go through the gait cycle efficiently.
So if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in the lower back or anywhere up the kinetic chain whilst running or performing your sport please make sure you book an assessment with your practitioner to help determine whether orthotics are required to keep your body working at its optimum.
Sports Therapist MSST