European Spine Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 100–104 | Cite as

Orthotic insoles do not prevent physical stress-induced low back pain

  • Ville M. MattilaEmail author
  • Petri Sillanpää
  • Tuula Salo
  • Heikki-Jussi Laine
  • Heikki Mäenpää
  • Harri Pihlajamäki
Original Article


Orthotic insoles are suggested to prevent low back pain. This randomized controlled study assessed if customised orthotic insoles prevent low back pain. Healthy military conscripts (n = 228; mean age 19 years, range 18–29) were randomly assigned to use either customised orthotic insoles (treatment group, n = 73) or nothing (control group, n = 147). The main outcome measure was low back pain requiring a physician visit and resulting in minimum 1 day suspension from military duty. Twenty-four (33%) treated subjects and 42 (27%) control subjects were suspended from duty due to low back pain (p = 0.37; risk difference 4.3%; 95% CI: −8.7 to 17.3%). Mean suspension duration was 2 days (range 1–7) in both groups. Four (5%) treated subjects and eight (5%) control subjects were released from duty due to persistent low back pain (p = 0.92; risk difference 0%; 95% CI: −6 to 6%). Use of orthotic insoles is therefore not recommended to prevent physical stress-related low back pain.


Prevention Lower back pain rct 



The study has not received any funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ville M. Mattila
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
    Email author
  • Petri Sillanpää
    • 1
    • 3
  • Tuula Salo
    • 4
  • Heikki-Jussi Laine
    • 3
  • Heikki Mäenpää
    • 3
  • Harri Pihlajamäki
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre of Military MedicineLahtiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryHämeenlinna Central HospitalHämeenlinnaFinland
  3. 3.Department of Orthopedic Surgery and TraumaTampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  4. 4.Military Hospital of Santahamina GarrisonFinnish Defence ForcesHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department of Medical Services, Defence StaffFinnish Defence ForcesHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.KangasalaFinland

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