The Importance of Heel Lifts

Some times when I take an x-ray of a patient in the low back region there will be a difference in their leg lengths. This difference may be because they had a broken ankle as a child and it affect the growth plate in the ankle or it may be do to an unknown reason. The difference in leg length can range from 1 or 2mm to 12 mm. When the difference is 5 mm or more I will recommend that patients get a heel lift for their shoe. The reason why is because you want to have a level pelvis which is the base for the spine if the pelvis and sacrum are tilted much the can through of everything above the sacrum. Often times when I see a persons low back x-ray there will be significant tilting and rotating if the vertebrae which plays a large part in why they are hurting. By putting in the heel lifts and leveling out the pelvis that will help in relieving their back pain. In fact if that is not taken care of there is a good chance it will reoccur over and over again. It is also important to gradually increase the height of the heel lift. So if a person has a 12 mm height difference you first start with a 3 mm then 5 mm then 7 mm then 9 mm then 12 mm lift. You would use each lift for approximately 1 month and then move to the next higher one. The reason why you do it this way is because it will take time for the body to become use to each change. If you just put in the 12 mm then that could create problems on its own because the body is not use to the new height. The use of heel lifts can clear up many of the problems people have because of low back pain.

Dr. Kip Rode