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New research has shed light on the whole-body health benefits that orthotic devices worn inside the shoe can provide.
Conducted by the US National University of Health Sciences in Illinois, the study has demonstrated that shoe orthotics can be instrumental in addressing symptoms of chronic low back pain, a common health complaint that affects millions of people in the UK and abroad.
Orthotics are orthopaedic devices placed inside the shoe to provide better positioning of the foot, relieve pressure in certain areas and improve the overall biomechanical function of the foot and lower limb. They are frequently used as a means of offering pain relief and to assist in rehabilitation after an injury.
This study specifically aimed to investigate the connection between the foot and the spine, and the effect that achieving better balance for the foot can have on back pain. A total of 225 subjects with low back pain were enrolled, with some receiving no treatment, while others were asked to use custom orthotics, either on their own or in conjunction with chiropractic care.
Outcomes were assessed at six weeks, 12 weeks, three months, six months and 12 months, with results published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation demonstrating that using the orthotics significantly reduced low back pain by 34.5 per cent.
This rose to 40.4 per cent when the orthotics were combined with chiropractic care, with the researchers estimating that using orthotics alone or in conjunction with chiropractic care can also improve physical function by 18.5 per cent and 32.3 per cent, respectively.
Overall, the study is demonstrative of how taking care of foot health can have broader health benefits that extend across the whole body.
Written by Angela Newbury
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