There are a lot of boosters out there, right? We have immune boosters, vitamin boosters, energy drinks, and even car booster seats. Figuratively speaking, there are foot boosters in our world too. They are called heel lifts and they can be very helpful for many people. In this week’s blog, we’re going to discuss what heel lifts are, how they can help with pain management, and what we can do to help.

What Are Heel Lifts?

First and foremost, heel lifts are not the same as foot insole orthotics like we discussed in last week’s blog on shoes and foot orthotics. Foot insole orthotics are specially designed inserts that go the entire length of the shoe where heel lift orthotics stop before the arch of the foot. Heel lifts are orthotic inserts that fit inside the heel of a shoe to provide additional support, cushioning, hip and pelvis equilibrium, and shock absorption for the foot. They often are used to help correct leg length discrepancies, reduce pain and discomfort in the Achillies tendon, or provide extra support for people with flat feet or other foot conditions. 

Heel lifts are made of a variety of materials, including foam, cork, rubber, and silicone, and can be either fixed or removable depending on the design. Fixed heel lifts are permanently attached to the shoe, while removable heel lifts can be inserted easily or removed from the shoe as needed. 

Heel lifts come in a range of heights and sizes to suit different needs and preferences. They can be as small as a few millimeters or as tall as several centimeters, depending on the specific purpose and individual requirements. It is important to select the right height and size of the heel lift to ensure proper support and alignment of the foot and ankle.

How Can Heel Lifts Assist with Pain Management?

Let’s stop and think for a moment. In the previous section, we stated that heel lifts help correct leg length discrepancies, reduce pain and discomfort in the Achillies tendon, or provide extra support for people with flat feet. These are the three most common reasons why chiropractors may give patients a heel lift. 

First and foremost, what is a leg length discrepancy? A leg length discrepancy is when the legs are not the same length due to a congenital condition or physiologically traumatic event such as a car accident. Consequently, the hip and pelvis are at different heights, creating extra pressure on the affected hip joint, poor posture, and low back pain. Leg length discrepancy is the most common reason why chiropractors give patients a heel lift. 

What is the significance of using a heel lift to reduce pain and discomfort in the Achillies tendon? The heel lift elevates the foot, thereby shortening the tendon and muscles. This decreases the load on the tendon by creating less stretch when movement is initiated. 

The same concept applies for individuals with flat feet. Flat feet can occur congenitally, traumatic induced, or from a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy. Most individuals with flat feet have the condition bilaterally; however, it can be unilateral. In either case, individuals with flat feet use heel lifts to help increase the lift of the heel and balance the hip joint and pelvis.   

How is Someone Fitted for Heel Lifts?

It is important to properly fit someone for heel lifts, which is why we highly recommend consulting with a medical professional first. It’s always better to get heel lifts from a trained professional rather buying over-the-counter heel lifts because the professional will obtain exact measurements to determine correct heel lift height. Two items that need noted:

  1. There are different size heel lifts. The worse a heel is, the higher the lift needs to be so everything can be balanced out. 
  2. Most individuals only need one heel lift. Someone with bilateral Achilles tendon pain or flat feet may need heel lifts on both sides, but someone with one leg discrepancy or unilateral problems should only have one inserted.

So, how is a heel lifted properly fitted? The best way is to take an x-ray of the lumbar spine that includes the pelvis and hip joints. Chiropractors along with other medical professionals are trained to perform something called x-ray analysis. X-ray analysis requires the medical professional to draw lines and angles around the appropriate areas to help formulate the exact millimeter/centimeter height needed for hip and pelvis equilibrium. Over time, proper posture and reduced pain should be achieved with lifestyle modifications performed by the patient.

What Can We Do to Help?

At our facility, we take x-rays on every patient. X-rays show us the following:

  1. Pathological Conditions-kidney stones, gallstones, abdominal aortic aneurysm, fractures, progressive bone cancers, disc/bone degeneration, etc.
  2. Physiological Conditions-bone rotation, pelvis/sacrum misalignment, curvature loss, poor posture.

We use specific x-rays to determine what areas to adjust in order to improve patient outcomes. One thing we look for is leg discrepancy. We do this by conducting a leg length analysis. Most leg length differences are so minimal, that they can be balanced out by performing a series of spinal adjustments. More severe leg length discrepancies that are visible on both a leg length analysis and x-rays require more than just spinal manipulation treatment.

In this case we would recommend heel lifts. We fit patients for heel lifts by performing a set of x-rays including the lumbar spine, pelvis and hip joints followed by conducting an x-ray analysis in order to properly fit patients for the correct heel lift.

If you have flat feet, Achilles tendon pain, or just want to see if you would benefit from a heel lift, give our office a call. For more information or questions about heel lifts, please call us at (724) 547-3377 and checkout our website at for more content.

Yours In Health,

Larry E. Wilkins, DC

Brian M. Steinert, DC