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Richardson Podiatry Center

How Orthotics Can Help with Knee and Back Pain

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For many, if not most, patients who suffer from issues like knee and back pain, finding the right treatment or combination of treatments to provide effective pain relief is often a process of trial and error. Foot orthotics are a potential option that can sometimes help patients with back pain. This is because these medical devices are used to realign how your feet articulate themselves on the ground, which in turn can affect your body’s entire overall posture and gait in a positive way.

how orthotics help back pain

Let’s take a second and look at what actually happens so you can see how orthotics help back pain. If you were to draw an imaginary line down the shin bone (tibia) to the foot for an individual with normal foot arches, the line should pass between his or her big and second toes. However, if you were to draw the same imaginary line on someone who has low foot arches, the line would pass through the outside of the big toe instead.

Flat arches cause the foot and ankle to overpronate, which is an excessive inwards rolling motion that happens during the ground portion of a step. In people who overpronate, the bearing of the bodyweight shifts to the inner edge of the foot. This contributes to problems like bunions and other issues, but it also potentially leads to both knee and lower back pain.

That is because this overpronation causes feet and ankles to turn inward, which then causes your knees to follow suit in a condition sometimes known as knock-knees. The abnormal placement of knees in this situation then shifts the angle formed where the thigh bone meets the pelvis. This results in an unsteady hip position that also destabilizes your spine. It is all really a domino effect starting at the feet and working its way up the leg and into the pelvis and spine. Even walking and standing can then lead to the back pain.

The good news is that the use of foot orthotics to realign the rear of the foot and prevent overpronation can help stop this domino effect from occurring.

Foot orthotics can help you manage knee and lower back pain by stabilizing and improving the position of your feet, which in turn improves every aspect of your gait. In medical terms this phenomenon is known as the kinetic chain. Your feet represent the base of the kinetic chain, and each of your subsequent joints above the feet can be thought of as a “link” in the chain—which goes all the way up your body to the neck.

During the process of walking, if your feet pronate excessively with each step you take, the rest of the kinetic chain is negatively affected on a regular basis.

Many available treatments for knee and/or back pain do not always lead to favorable outcomes for all patients, even when the condition is similar between two different people. The same general rule holds true with the use of orthotics. So it is important to keep in mind that this is not a guaranteed solution to your back. That being said, it’s certainly one worth exploring, especially if is able to relieve you pain and keep you from developing a worsened condition.

For more information on the benefits of orthotic devices, contact Richardson Podiatry Center. Our team is ready to answer any questions and help schedule your appointment with our Richardson podiatry office, so give us a call today at 972-690-5374 or contact us online right now.

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