Have you ever wondered if the pain in your back is caused by something other than a pulled muscle? It turns out there are many different contributors to back pain – including foot problems that are associated with poor posture. It might not seem like it, but the biomechanics of your feet are more essential to your daily functioning and wellness than you may initially assume. Let’s unpack the way your foot causing back pain can affect your back strength, posture, and wellness.
Is Your Foot Causing Back Pain?
The simple answer is this: yes, your back pain can be caused by your feet. If you think about it, your feet are the foundation for your entire musculoskeletal system and just like a house, when the foundation is weak or incorrect, the rest of the house (or body) will start to experience problems.
Probably one of the best examples of this is how people who have naturally flat feet also tend to have trouble with athletic demands. The same is true for the quality of your posture and the pain you may be feeling in your lower back. The four main reasons foot pain contributes to back pain includes:
Pronation is the first biomechanical issue that can cause pain in the back. Pronation of the feet occurs when the feet roll inward when you are standing or walking, which results in flat feet. While some pronation is normal, over-pronation or hyper-pronation can cause extreme inward motion that not only affects your gait but can also impact your posture.
For example, hyper-pronation also causes the rest of the leg to roll inward, which affects weight distribution and the movement of the hips and back while you are in motion.
Supination is another biomechanical issue that can cause pain in the back. Supination of the feet happens when the foot rolls outward due to an excessively high arch that can make walking or balance more difficult. Hyper-supination causes the legs to roll outward, including the bend of the knees and the hips, which can cause back pain during movement.
Postural stress is a type of long-term stress on the body caused by incorrect posture or biomechanics that make it difficult to have good posture. Postural stress can make the spine curve incorrectly due to the placement of the feet.
Many people who have lower back pain may experience this pain because their spine is overcompensating for poor foot placement. Sometimes postural stress can be caused by being on your feet for too many hours or overworking your feet and spine in other ways.
Improper footwear is a hallmark for lower back pain. Many women who regularly wear high heels experience lower back pain as a result of pain in the arches, likely because heeled shoes force the feet into unnatural positions.
Is your foot causing back pain? It could be related to improper footwear, and this is one of the easiest fixes. A simple recommendation to wear flat-footed shoes or inserts can alleviate back and foot pain.
How Common Is Back Pain?
Around 80% of people will experience back pain at some point during the lifespan. Both young and older people can experience back pain at any time.
Many women experience back pain during regular menstruation cycles due to the flexing of the hip bones and muscle contractions. Back pain can be caused by feet, injury, medication, overuse, or health issues like obesity.
How Can Podiatry Help Back Pain?
Podiatry can be immensely helpful for resolving back pain. If normal stretching and better lifestyle practices don’t resolve your back pain, there’s a high chance you are experiencing pain caused by the feet.
There are a few ways podiatrists determine the relationship between your back pain and your feet, such as conducting a physical examination. Additionally, podiatrists can make several recommendations, including:
Diagnostic Gait Analysis
A gait analysis is a test that determines the health and fluidity of your gait or the way you walk. Gait analysis will examine the pace and placement of your steps, particularly the pronation and supination of your feet.
Many people do not realize that they have poor or problematic gait issues until after gait analysis. A gait analysis will help determine the type of treatment or therapy that is best for your particular needs.
Podiatrists can recommend orthotics that can help improve your gait and your posture. Sometimes orthotics are prescription inserts for your shoes and other times podiatrists make specific footwear recommendations.
It’s often the case that those who have significant biomechanical issues may need to buy specialty shoes that are custom-fitted to their exact feet and posture needs.
Referral to Other Physicians
If a podiatrist is unable to determine if your back pain is associated with a foot issue, then they can recommend your treatment to another physician, such as a chiropractor for spine realignment.
Sometimes podiatrists work with physical therapists to actively correct gait problems and help patients learn occupational ways to improve posture and other everyday activities.
Is Back Pain Always Caused by Foot Issues?
Issues with the feet are pretty common reasons to experience back pain, particularly occasional pain that wears off when you spend less time on your feet. But back pain can be caused by many other factors, such as a strain from a pulled muscle, moving wrong, pinching a nerve, or injuries from high-impacts or overuse.
For chronic back pain that is not resolved by podiatry treatment, it may be necessary to see a back specialist.
Can Foot Pain Be Caused By Back Pain?
As much as five times your own weight is placed on each foot when you walk or run, so it’s easy to see how foot pain can be caused by something like obesity or other conditions that place too much weight or stress on the feet.
But there are other causes of foot pain that may be related to the back, such as pinched nerves in the spine that connect to the foot. In the case of foot pain caused by problems in the back, other podiatry treatments may be necessary.
Who Are Good Candidates for Podiatry Treatment?
Good candidates for podiatry treatment are those who suffer from foot pain or back pain caused by the feet. The best way to determine if you are a candidate for treatment will be to attend a consultation and an examination to assess if biomechanical issues are causing your back pain. Your consultation will assess your level of pain, including how long you have had back pain, and may include a gait assessment for further diagnostic recommendations. People of all ages and genders are potentially good candidates for podiatry treatment related to back pain.
Your feet are important – not only are your feet responsible for balance and movement, but your feet can also be linked to your posture, the strength of your back, and any pain you may feel in your lumbar. Podiatry treatment can help identify gait issues, biomechanical issues, and other factors that may be related to back pain, including recommendations for inserts and footwear that may help reduce back pain. To learn more about how to deal with a foot causing back pain, contact Island Foot Clinics in British Columbia today.