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Is my foot posture the cause of my lower back pain?

If you are suffering from lower back pain, you could be forgiven for thinking that the problem originates in your lower back. In reality, there are a number of things from head to toe (literally) that could be causing your pain. In this blog, we’re going to look at how improper foot posture can result in back pain, and what you can do to prevent it.


Pronation/Supination

While you may not think that a small, almost unnoticeable, problem in your foot could be the cause of your back pain, it very well might. This is because our feet are the foundations of our whole bodies. If they are even slightly off, a ripple effect can be felt throughout the body. A small deviance from the norm in our feet could change the way we walk, or move our hips, back, arms, and shoulders. Over time, these small changes can irritate or overwork certain body parts, such as the muscles and tendons in our lower back, and lead to pain.

Two good examples of this are overpronation and oversupination. Overpronation is when we land on the inside of our feet rather than the flat sole, causing the feet to bend inwards slightly. Oversupination is when we do the opposite, landing on the outer edges of our feet and forcing them to bend outwards. This places pressure in the wrong areas, chances the way we walk, and throws our body completely out of alignment, resulting in back pain. You can easily test for either of these conditions at home. Simply stand facing a wall, and have someone check if the middles of your knee, ankle, and heel are lined up. If not, you likely suffer from one of the above conditions, which could be causing your back pain. If this is the case, click here to learn about what you can do.

High Heels

Very few people will be surprised to see high-heels included on a list about back pain given the scrutiny they have faced from women’s health experts over the past few years, but it is important to understand why they are bad for you. Firstly, wearing high-heels causes the S curve in your spine to become more pronounced. Since your height has changed, you now need a lower centre of gravity to maintain balance, so your lower back is pushed forward while the upper back moves backwards. This changes where pressure is placed on your discs, muscles, and tendons, which can lead to both immediate and long-term pain.

The longer and more frequently you wear high-heels, the more serious this will become, as the cartilage between your discs wears away, and your muscles become shorter and tighter. To learn more about this, visit our blog on the harm of high heels.

Arches

Your arches are another major factor in your feet that may be affecting your back. If you have high or fallen arches, you could be more susceptible to developing back pain. This is partly for the same reasons mentioned above, with the slightest change in your foot causing you to walk or stand in an unusual way. With high arches, you also have a problem with shock absorption, which can send shockwaves up through your body and cause damage. With fallen arches, you are more likely to develop overpronation or supination, which can cause back pain. To learn how you can deal with arch problems, check out this blog.

Without visiting a specialist, there is no way to determine what the cause of your back pain is for sure. But as we have seen here, there could be more to blame than just your back. If you are suffering from back pain, and believe one of these causes could be to blame, get in touch today and schedule a full examination with one of our Podiatrists.