The effect of foot wedging on electromyographic activity in the erector spinae and gluteus medius muscles during walking Academic Article uri icon


  • The use of foot orthoses for treatment of low back pain (LBP) has received some attention in the literature, mainly from a clinical or theoretical perspective. It has been proposed that this treatment alleviates pain by altering muscle activity in the area of the low back but there is no direct evidence of such an effect. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of different types of foot wedging on the bilateral surface electromyographic activity of erector spinae (ErSp) (L3 level) and gluteus medius (GlMed) of 13 participants without LBP. Activity in ErSp had a significantly earlier onset during the gait cycle with bilateral heel lifts and bilateral lateral forefoot wedging. GlMed activity had a significantly later onset with bilateral heel lifts, and with an unilateral heel lift on the ipsilateral side (P<0.0125). No significant amplitude changes were demonstrated in either muscle for any of the forms of wedging tested. These results show that foot wedging can produce measurable changes in timing of muscle activity within the low back and pelvis during the gait cycle. Further investigation is required to determine whether this effect contributes to the alleviation of LBP.

publication date

  • October 2003