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Foot Conditions and Lower Back Effects:

Close up image taken from behind of two feet in running shoes taking a step

Many people suffer from lower back pain everyday, but did you know that this pain may actually stem from problems in your feet? Some of the pain felt in your lumbar region may not be a result of back problems, rather it may indicate a podiatric issue.

Our feet have to deal with excessive wear and tear everyday. Walking alone causes a force of five times our body weight to be exerted on each foot, and that doesn’t even include other activities such as running or dancing. Problems arise when this force is not absorbed or redistributed correctly. There are a variety of elements that can contribute to this.

Among these are various biomechanical errors such as structural asymmetries, tissue weaknesses, and excessive external loads. Any type of structural asymmetry indicates that the force will be exerted unevenly, which could cause stress in areas where the force is more concentrated. This may also cause changes in the gait to avoid excess pain. These changes in gait can affect the back in a negative way. Tissue weakness, like those associated with flat feet, causes the feet to improperly align with the ankle joint, causing misalignment with the knee joint, affecting your hips and your gait, which directly impacts your lower back.

Other problems can arise based off of the way you walk. When you walk, a process called pronation occurs. Pronation is the inward motion of the foot that collapses the arches with each step. While mild pronation is essential for proper movement and function, problems occur when there is hyper-pronation. If there is too much inward motion, then the leg begins to turn inward also, which will affect the knees, hips, and lower back position. Hyper-pronation also causes extra strain on the foot muscles since the extra motion requires more muscle power.

Another problem that can arise is hyper-supination, which results from high arches that cause the feet to roll outward instead of inward. Much like hyper-pronation, hyper-supination causes alignment issues based upon the gait. However, instead of the legs moving inward, they now move outward and put more strain on the outer leg muscles, knees, hips, and lower back.

Luckily, there are things you can do to help alleviate some of these issues. First, you’ll want to make sure that you have the proper footwear. Well-fitting shoes with good cushioning and arch support are ideal. You also want to make sure you have the proper fit. Shoes that are too large can negatively influence your gait and shoes that are too small can cause excess foot pain. Women should also avoid heels that are over two inches because these are nightmares for your feet.

Finally, you may want to consider podiatric treatment. This can be done by using insoles that provide additional support or by visiting a specialist. Visiting a specialist would be beneficial since they would be able to tell you exactly what is causing your pain and what you can do to fix it.