Is Your Back Pain Coming from Your Feet?

When you’ve got lower back pain, it can seem like it comes out of nowhere. You haven’t bent over and felt a tweak, you didn’t take a fall, and you can’t remember a specific event that threw your back out of whack.

It could be your feet.

Making the foot-back pain connection

Think about it: your feet aren’t off there by themselves – they’re connected to your ankles, which are attached to your lower legs, which are joined to your knees – and onward up past the hips and into the lower back area. So when something’s wrong with your back, there are numerous ways that the problem can be traced downward into your feet.

Here are some scenarios in which a foot problem can cause back pain:

  • You wear flip flops a lot.When you wear flip-flops, your toes spend a lot of time gripping rubber, and it takes effort just to keep the sandal on your foot. All of this movement can change your stride and put extra stress on your back.
  • You’ve got a foot deformity.Conditions such as hammertoes, overlapping toes, or bunions can also affect the way you walk.
  • You naturally overpronate or underpronate.With these mechanical abnormalities, the foot doesn’t hit the ground properly. Arches that turn too far inward (overpronation) and feet that turn outward too much (underpronation) will also change your gait.
  • You’ve got flat feet. The absence of a foot arch is another biomechanical abnormality that can manifest itself in back pain.

An easy fix

Fortunately, the solution to these problems very often lies in getting fit for custom orthotics. Orthotic devices are custom-molded to your foot. They come in different shapes and sizes because they’re designed to fix a specific problem such as overpronation. Re-aligning your foot position puts everything else back into proper alignment and you no longer put stress on other parts of your body. Adios, back pain!

If you’d like to find out if your unexplained back pain can be traced to foot problems, it’s a good reason to visit Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm, our board-certified podiatrist at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, VA. Make an appointment for a full exam and diagnosis by calling (703) 996-3000. You can also contact us online.

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