Effect of Customized Foot Orthotics in Addition to Usual Care for the Management of Chronic Low Back Pain Following Work-Related Low Back Injury

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The objective of this study was to compare the effect of customized foot orthotics in addition to usual care (UC) compared with UC alone for the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain after work-related injury.


Sixty-two consecutive patients presenting with chronic (> 3 months), nonspecific, low back pain following work-related low back injury were included in the study. A total of 30 patients in the UC group were given a 6-week exercise therapy program along with prescription analgesics. The intervention group, composed of 32 patients, received UC in addition to customized foot orthotics (orthotics group). All subjects completed the Oswestry Disability Index at the initiation of the study and at 8-week follow-up. Work disability, as defined by working at usual, preinjury job labor level, was recorded at baseline and 8-week follow-up.


A total of 28 subjects in the UC group and 32 in the orthotics group completed the study. The 2 groups were well matched in terms of age, sex distribution, and duration of low back pain as well as baseline Oswestry Disability Index score. At 8 weeks, both groups had improved. The orthotics group had a lower Oswestry Disability Index than the UC group (P < .01), with a smaller proportion of the orthotics group using any form of prescribed analgesics for back pain (P < .05).


The findings showed that patients in this study with chronic, nonspecific low back pain following work-related low back injury had greater improvement in short-term outcomes with orthotics and UC than with UC alone.

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