Many of us with knee, hip, and low back pain don’t realize imbalances in the feet can cause or worsen these problems.

The feet have three arches – the inner, outer, and transverse arch across the balls of the feet. Together, they are called the plantar vault. If one of these arches is more dropped than the other, or one foot is flatter than the other, pain in other areas of the body can result.

The first step is to always wear good quality footwear. Good arch support, as well as a strong shank and roomy toe box are recommended. A lace-up shoe is often preferable to a slip-on. Many shoes don’t provide these. A custom orthotic that can be inserted into the shoe is a good solution. An orthotic flip-flop, sandal, or shoe are also options.

Studies have shown that custom orthotics can reduce low back pain by more than 30%. They help chiropractic adjustments hold longer, reducing wear and tear on affected joints. Pain is reduced in fewer visits and in many cases does not return. Like any other custom product, a truly custom orthotic is more expensive than an over-the-counter insert. However, the benefits far outweigh the cost. People can begin or resume exercise programs they were avoiding due to pain. Many find their balance improves, so there is less risk of falling. It all contributes to a better quality of life.

I use Foot Levelers custom orthotics in my practice. This is a softer orthotic and molds well to the patient’s foot while providing the needed corrections. The company stands behind its product with a money-back guarantee.


Dr. Alexander practices at Ridgely Retreat in Annapolis. She offers a no-charge 15-minute consultation. She can be reached at 443-433-0463.


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