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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
A middle-aged woman seated hunched over on her couch, with her one hand pressed against her lower back.
Back7 Best Orthotics to Aid With Your Lower Back PainLower back pain is a leading cause of pain globally. In America, as many as 8% of adults have chronic back pain that limits their daily activities. While there are several treatment methods, one—as yet underused—approach to managing lower back pain is the use of orthotics. The question is: which orthotics are the best for managing lower back pain? We have answered that question for you by gathering data and narrowing down the best choices. » Do foot problems cause back pain? Discover how orthotics for back pain can help you Our Top 7 Picks for Orthotics to Support Lower Back Pain Overall Best: Upstep On My Feet All Day Custom OrthoticsBest for Roomy-Fitting Athletic Footwear: Superfeet Flexmax InsolesBest for Boots and Wider Shoes: Protalus M-100 Elite InsolesBest for Shoes With Removable Inserts: Tread Labs Ramble InsolesBest for Improving Foot Alignment: SOLE Active Thick InsolesBest for Everyday Shoes: FitMyFoot Full-Length InsolesBest for Improving Overall Foot Health: URthotics Comfort+ Insoles Your 3-Step Plan for Foot-Pain Relief With Upstep » Get started: answer the questions 1. Upstep On My Feet All Day Custom Orthotics ProsCustom-made by top podiatristsProvide maximum support for feet and archesReduce discomfort from prolonged standing/walkingProven to aid with lower back painEligible for FSA, HSA, and Klarnapay installments180-day money-back guaranteeFree shipping and returnsConsShort waiting period before receiving orthotics Stress is a leading cause of lower back pain, and people who stand for prolonged periods have a higher risk of developing it. Upstep On My Feet All Day custom orthotics address this directly. Made with durable polypropylene shells and well-cushioned mid-layers, these custom orthotics provide maximum support for your feet and arches. They also reduce foot fatigue and discomfort associated with prolonged standing or walking. Designed by expert podiatrists, these insoles are durable, cost-effective, insurance-backed, and have a money-back guarantee. They are easily the best orthotics to aid with your lower back pain. » Read the review: On My Feet All Day 2. Superfeet Flexmax Insoles ProsFlexible heel cradleFull-length cushionBreathable forefoot keeps feet cool and dry60-day satisfaction guaranteeConsNot custom-madeHave to be trimmed to sizeMay take longer to break in Superfeet FLEXmax insoles are full-length arch support insoles with a flexible heel cradle, a heel-to-toe cushion, and an active Aerospring comfort foam, all in an effort to provide long-lasting comfort for the feet. Superfeet insoles are affordable and are available in many stores. For an over-the-counter orthotic, these insoles are quite effective. However, they need trimming, making them less than ideal for individual foot differences that may be causing lower back pain. 3. Protalus M-100 Elite Insoles ProsComfortable cushioning and supportDeep heel cupImproves alignment of the subtalar joint90-day guaranteeConsNot custom-madeOne arch heightMay feel bulky in some shoes Beyond just cushioning, Protalus M-100 elite insoles provide firm support to the feet. These insoles have a deep heel cup for heel stabilization and a thick, fat pad beneath the heel bone, guaranteeing maximum cushion and comfort. By redistributing pressure in the foot this way, Protalus insoles ensure a smooth force transmission through the lumbar spine to the foot and back to the spine. In this way, they help prevent lower back pain. One major disadvantage of the Protalus is that though it offers a range of sizes, the insoles are available in only one universal arch height. This makes them unfit for all arch types, as foot contouring is necessary for maximal effect. 4. Tread Labs Ramble Insoles ProsThin and lightMinimizes foot fatigueFour arch heights to choose fromMillion-mile guarantee for easy replacement of damaged insolesConsNot custom-madeNot as durable Lack of comfort in the heal Ramble insoles have a molded plastic arch support that gives firm support to the feet and minimizes foot fatigue. They also align the foot and redistribute pressure on the legs. Tread Labs Ramble insoles come in various sizes and at least four different arch heights. However, they don't provide a perfect fit like a custom-made insole will. » Do you stand on your feet all day? Know how to choose the best insoles for your feet 5. SOLE Active Thick Insoles ProsThick foam cushioningPolygiene coating for odor control Dynamic arch support90-day footbed guaranteeConsNot custom-madeMay not fit all shoesMolded by heat to fit SOLE Active Thick insoles are used by people with a high arch and those who stand on their feet all day. They're full-length, semi-rigid arch support insoles that can be molded by heat or worn to fit the foot shape. While they are cost-effective, SOLE Active thick insoles work best with loose-fitting shoes, limiting how you can use them and with what shoes. 6. FitMyFoot Full-Length Insoles (Green) ProsShock-absorbing heel cushionDynamic arch supportMoisture-wicking breathable fabric30 days return policyConsNot custom-madeMay take time to adjustNarrower at the front and may not fit all shoesFoot may slide due to smooth covering FitMyFoot Insoles are designed to improve body alignment, relieve foot pain, and make your shoes fit better. Consequently, they make a good choice of orthotics to deal with lower back pain. Its features include a shock-absorbing heel cushion, a long-lasting premium footbed, dynamic arch support, and proper padding. These all combine to improve foot comfort and reduce foot fatigue, invariably protecting the back. » Should you consider over-the-counter insoles? Compare custom vs otc orthotics 7. URthotics Comfort+ Insoles ProsCustom madeTriple-layered top coverMaximum shock absorptionFSA and HSA eligibleSix months money-back guaranteeConsNo interest-free installmentsComplicated paperworkShort waiting period before receiving orthotics URThotics have a triple layer cover and a custom arch support designed to fit the foot contours and provide maximum shock absorption and stability control during motion. These features guarantee comfort, durability, and protection for the feet, preventing the feet from contributing to any back pain. Should you choose to get a URthotics Comfort+ insole, it takes between 14-21 business days, which means you will have to wait. Optimal Comfort & Support for Lower Back Pain If you're in the market for good foot support and long-term durability that will also help you manage lower back pain, custom orthotics are your best option. Because they're molded to your feet and needs specifically, they’re the perfect support system and will provide you with optimal comfort.
An elderly woman seated on her couch, with her hand placed on her lower back which is inflamed.
BackHow to Identify the Unmissable Signs Your Sciatica Is HealingSciatica is painful inflammation, irritation, or compression of the sciatic nerve causing pain in the lower limbs, often in only one leg. Sometimes, it may even be the cause of foot pain after running. According to a Harvard paper, up to 40% of people experience sciatica in their lifetime, but it can be treated. With treatment, recovery from sciatica usually takes a few weeks, but if left untreated, it can become chronic and take longer to heal. The following is an overview of how to know if your sciatica is healing, whether there's a permanent cure, and recovery time. Signs of Sciatica Improving Unlike pain elsewhere, reduced severity is not the primary way to know if there is an improvement. Instead, you must consider the extent of your radiating pain. Remember that sciatica causes radiating pain from the lower back down one leg (to every muscle supplied directly or indirectly by the sciatica nerve). With improvement, the pain begins to retreat backwards, a phenomenon known as centralization. As the pain retraces backwards, the severity of the pain in the lower back or buttocks can increase. The more centralized the pain becomes around the spine, the surer you can be that improvement is taking place. How Long Does Sciatic Nerve Pain Normally Last? Sciatica doesn’t resolve on its own. Without treatment, it worsens and can lead to excruciating pain. However, with self-care, it may take 4 to 6 weeks for acute sciatic nerve pain to resolve. At this stage, pain is intermittent, radiates down the leg, and causes altered sensations such as numbness and tingling in the lower limbs. Self-care treatment includes using hot and cold compresses, exercises, and over-the-counter drugs. Chronic Sciatica If the pain lasts longer than six weeks, it's termed chronic sciatica and requires more targeted treatment. The pain is more constant, and there may be associated weakness in the leg. Also, the risk of recurrence is higher when sciatica becomes chronic. Treatment involves combining home remedies with medical management: physiotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and pharmacologic management. Surgery is also another option, provided symptoms don’t improve with regular treatment. Can Sciatica Be Cured Permanently? The fact that the symptoms of sciatica get resolved doesn't mean it's gone permanently. The possibility of recurrence is a major risk of self-diagnosis. You must understand that sciatica has many causes and mimics many other kinds of back pain, such as flat feet causing back pain. Without an accurate diagnosis, the treatment will be general. One study suggests that symptoms may persist for up to twelve months, even with treatment. Identifying the underlying cause is essential because it will influence the treatment. If a general treatment approach is used, both the risk of recurrence and the recovery time increase. That said, surgery may very well be the only method that guarantees a permanent recovery since it focuses on the root cause. That's why the type of surgery also depends on the exact cause of sciatica. In any case, it's essential to consult your medical provider to determine the underlying cause of sciatica and the best line of treatment. Conclusion While there may be no permanent cure for sciatica, you can limit sciatica recurrence by strengthening your core and back muscles and maintaining a good posture when sitting, lifting, or standing. Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce pressure on your back and prevent future sciatica flare-ups. Lastly, wearing supportive shoes and using orthotics for back pain can prevent the recurrence of sciatica.
Man holding lower back in pain
BackOrthotics for Helping With Back PainBack pain can be incredibly problematic due to the level of work the spine does daily. Any back issue, no matter how little, must be addressed promptly because it tends to get complicated if not treated quickly. While back pain can be caused by several factors, sometimes it occurs because of foot problems. When pain in the back is due to a foot condition, the only way to relieve the back pain is to address the foot problem directly. This article looks at the various causes of lower back pain and the effectiveness of using foot orthotics to treat it. Causes of Lower Back Pain The statement “if one is affected, all will be affected” is true of most interrelated things, including the kinetic chain. This chain comprises the back, hip, knee, and ankle joints. Because they are interrelated, when one is affected, all will be affected. This is why a foot problem can also result in lower back pain. For example, if your feet naturally overpronate, your weight will rest on the outer edge of your foot when walking. This uneven weight distribution will force the knee out of alignment and destabilize the pelvis. It will also affect the hip and put a strain on the lower back, causing pain. With foot problems, other joints are forced to adopt compensatory patterns and postural changes that place them under significant strain and cause lower back pain. And by dealing with the cause directly using foot orthotics, you can easily solve the problem of back pain. How Foot Orthotics Can Help Back Pain Foot orthotics can help control abnormal motion of the feet. They also help to improve and stabilize the position of the feet, which, in turn, improves the gait and posture of the individual. Likewise, they can be used to realign the hindfoot to reduce and prevent incorrect foot pronation. In choosing foot orthotics, it is better to go for custom orthotics instead of over-the-counter insoles. While over-the-counter orthotics are cheap and may be effective for mild conditions, they can lead to more foot problems because they are not custom-designed to the foot or made from quality materials. This is exactly what Upstep orthotics are for. They are custom-fitted to support and balance the feet and reduce abnormal motion. Consequently, they stabilize the pelvis and enhance the normal function of the spine, effectively dealing with any foot problem that may be causing back pain. Best Orthotics for Back Pain Orthotics are made from a wide range of materials, including polypropylene, polyethylene, acrylic, fiberglass, carbon fiber composites, ethylene-vinyl, etc. The exact material your orthotic will be made from will depend on the different types of orthotics and their intended use. Our orthotics are made from the best materials and the most advanced technology by specialists who perform their due diligence to design a custom-fitted orthotic using your unique foot impressions and questions on your medical history. Visit our shop or contact us to find out more about how we can help you. Correct Usage of Orthotics Until your body has adjusted completely to the orthotics, you should avoid wearing them for long or while doing strenuous activities. Usually, it will take two to four weeks for this to happen. You can start off wearing them for one hour at a time and then progressively increase the duration as it becomes more comfortable. Otherwise, you can simply follow the advice of your podiatrist on how to use your orthotics. When to Consider Orthotics for Lower-Back Pain It is evidence-backed that prescribed orthotics can significantly improve back pain and dysfunction in six weeks. So, instead of just walking into a random store and picking up a generic insole, it is recommended that you go for custom-made orthotics. Be it the rigid and functional orthotics or the soft and accommodative orthotics, they are designed to cushion your feet, provide support, and relieve your pain. With just a call, you can link up with our team of podiatrists who will take a detailed assessment of your feet, considering everything from their shape to your age, lifestyle, everyday activities, previous experience with orthotics, and even your favorite shoes.
Man hunched over rubbing inflamed spot on lower back
BackCan Flat Feet Cause Back Pain?The feet connect with the floor and carry the weight of the body as we go about our daily activities. If there is an imbalance stemming from the feet, it can have a negative effect on the rest of the body. Strong, properly aligned feet serve as a stable base for the body to move off of. Read further to see how flat feet could be causing your back pain and how to relieve this pain using various conservative methods. What Are Flat Feet? Flat feet are a common condition associated with a loss of arch height. This can be seen when weight is applied onto the foot. This condition is usually seen in childhood where the arches are flat. As you age, the muscles of the feet strengthen to develop the arch of the foot, ready to take the weight of a growing body. If the muscles and arches don’t develop adequately, the feet remain flat through adolescence and into adulthood. Flat feet can be caused by obesity, ligament laxity, pregnancy, and hereditary characteristics. Flat feet and the associated symptoms of the condition can be managed through a variety of conservative management strategies, such as exercise, custom orthotics, and massage techniques. How Do Flat Feet Cause Back Pain? Back pain is one of the potential dangers of flat feet. A large amount of people with flat feet report experiencing lower back pain in comparison to those with a normal or high-arch structure. The biomechanical misalignment from the overpronation of the feet and ankles increases stress placed on the ankles, knees, hips, and subsequently the lower back. Flat feet do not absorb the weight of the body effectively as the feet strike the floor, resulting in higher forces being placed on the joints of the legs. These forces move upwards into the hips and spine, causing pain and potentially other conditions, such as osteoarthritis.  How to Alleviate Back Pain Caused By Flat Feet Making use of orthotics or appropriate footwear to prevent overpronation of the foot and correct the misalignment in biomechanics that comes along overpronation can prevent straining the muscles and ligaments of the ankle complex. The support from the orthotics will further lessen the strain placed on the back and joints of the leg by absorbing some of the pressure placed on the foot. Simple exercises in conjunction with the suitable arch support can manage the condition effectively. Medication for pain management, if necessary, can also be used. Heat can also be applied to the back before exercise or while exercising to relieve symptoms of pain. Back stretches are a great way to relieve back pain while maintaining mobility of the spine. Here are some back stretches for pain relief and to maintain spine mobility: Back flexion Lying on your back, bend your knees and hips to bring both legs up to your chest. Hold your legs against your chest for 15–20 seconds while bending your head forward for maximum back stretch. You should experience an elongating sensation throughout the entirety of the back.Lower back rotations Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet together, slowly rotate your lower back and lower your legs towards one side. This should create a stretch in the opposite side of the back. Keep your shoulders flat against the surface. Pull your knees to the midline and repeat again. Repeat 15–20 times. Gluteal stretch Lying on your back (preferably on a surface where your feet are able to be placed comfortably on the floor), pull one knee up to your chest and hold for 15–20 seconds. You should experience a stretch in your glutes. Repeat on the other leg.  Exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles, which are associated with a reduced chance of developing of lower back pain, can also be done frequently for effective self-management. Strengthening the muscles making up the foot and lower leg will improve arch development, leading to less pronation in the foot and reduced body misalignment. Here are some exercises that you could try: Toe crunches Sitting with your feet facing forward, curl your toes into the floor and back towards your heel, elevating the arch slightly. Hold for 5–10 seconds, then relax. Repetitions of sustained contractions will improve strength greatly over time. Heel raises You may prefer to stand in front of a wall for increased balance. Push onto the toes and rise onto the forefoot, contracting the calf muscle. Hold for 3 seconds and relax. Do 8–10 repetitions three times daily.Toe exercises With one foot on top of the other, alternate between pushing down your big toe while raising your other toes and lifting your big toe while pushing your other toes down into the floor. Hold for 4–5 seconds, then relax. Repeat on the other foot.