We don’t think much about our feet until they hurt. There they are, doing their jobs. We just take them for granted.
But sometimes, problems with our feet can cause pain in other parts of our bodies. If there’s something going on with our feet, we may not be conscious of it unless there’s localized pain. We simply adjust our gaits to compensate for the problem, which is what leads to pain elsewhere.
Low back pain: is it your feet? It may well be. Let’s examine the question.
Our bodies aren’t really a series of parts. They’re interconnected physical systems. That means that a bunion or other deformity in one or both feet can cause pain elsewhere.
What you wear on your feet is also a factor. High heels, for example. They look nice. They make women feel powerful. But the problem with high heels is that they not only constrict your feet, they force the wearer into an unnatural posture which can cause problems throughout the body.
Footwear is especially important for those who have flat feet or high arches. These physical characteristics can lead to gait abnormalities best addressed by supportive footwear.
If you’re experiencing pain in your lower back, take a look at what you’re wearing on your feet. Flip flop fans will be very disappointed to hear that this style of footwear is just as unhelpful to your feet as high heels. Why? Your feet have absolutely no support in them.
If you’ve ever hurt a toe (even that little one), you’ll know how far you’ll go to avoid the pain while you’re walking.
That avoidance of pain comes in the form of walking differently. The way you use your feet changes. You may have noticed that you feel the effects of that avoidance in other parts of your body, like the legs and yes, the lower back.
Foot problems travel upward. Misalignment can start in the ankle, then move to the knee, the hips, the back and even the neck and shoulders. Our feet are workhorses. That much is true. But they’re also delicate little flowers, with many bones.
When something’s wrong with your feet, you’re going to feel it elsewhere. That’s just the interconnected nature of the human body.
Orthotics are shoe inserts with a medical purpose. Off the rack orthotics are only a temporary fix. Many companies make claims about them which are simply not true, so avoid them. They may help temporarily but you’ll soon find that the pain returns.
If you’re having problems with your lower back which originate in your feet, having custom orthotic insoles is one way to support a more harmonious relationship between your feet and all the moving parts they can affect.
Back & Body Medical
I’m a chiropractor, working with a team of clinicians practicing acupuncture, physical therapy and sports medicine, here in our multi-disciplinarian, award-winning Manhattan clinic.
If you think your low back pain is linked to a problem with your feet, come talk to me.