Your Back Pain May Start At Your Feet

Do you have a few problems with your feet or gait in general? Learn more about how a podiatrist can help fix your foot problems.

Your Back Pain May Start At Your Feet

Your Back Pain May Start At Your Feet

29 April 2016
, Blog

If you have chronic lower back pain, take a look at your feet. Flat feet, also called fallen arches, may be the cause of the pain. The position of your feet has a lot to do with the alignment of your legs and hips. Any problem with this alignment can put stress on the lower back, causing your pain. Here is how your feet may be contributing to that persistent ache in your lower back and how to get rid of the pain.

Your Arches and Body Alignment

The arch in your feet has several functions:

  • it acts as a shock absorber each time you step down on your foot
  • it keeps your ankles, knees and hips in their natural anatomical alignment

Your arch causes the foot to turn in and rotate out slightly. When the arch fails, the foot rests on the floor turning it out and rotating it in. This causes stress in the ankles, knees and hips which creates pain in the lower back. You also lose the shock absorber effect so every step transmits force up your legs and into your back.

Causes of Fallen Arches

A number of issues contribute to the loss of the arch in your feet, such as:

  • a genetic predisposition to weak tendons and muscles in the feet
  • an injury to the muscles and tendons in the feet
  • weight gain that puts additional stress on the foot muscles
  • overuse of the foot muscles during exercise or other physical activity
  • bone and muscles diseases, such as arthritis and osteoporosis

Treating Fallen Arches

An examination by a podiatrist will determine the cause of your flat feet and which treatments will be appropriate. The foot doctor will initially recommend non-invasive approaches. If these fail to give you enough relief, surgery is the next step.

The non-invasive treatment options include:

  • Shoe inserts - Custom orthotics in your shoes will create an artificial arch for your foot.
  • Physical therapy - Strengthening the muscles in your foot can make them better able to hold your arch in place.
  • Foot and ankle braces - These devices hold the foot in better alignment to relieve the stress from your ankles, knees and hips.

When surgery becomes an option, this can include:

  • Tendon placement - The surgeon can move the tendons to different points on the foot bones, creating better leverage to hold the arch in place more effectively.
  • Bone fusion - Some of the bones in the foot can be fused together to create a rigid, artificial arch. Your foot will be in better alignment, but you won't have the shock absorber effect of a natural arch.
About Me
Understanding Foot Problems

When I started running to lose weight, I was surprised to find that I had a few problems with my feet and my gait in general. When I would run, my toes would ache and sometimes the fascia underneath my foot would hurt badly. I realized that I couldn't go on exercising with all of the pain, which is why I turned to my podiatrist for help. He analyzed my gait and determined that I had a fallen arch on one of my feet, but not on the other. This blog is all about the benefits of podiatry, so that you can learn how you might be able to exercise and move without any discomfort.