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The Link Between Your Feet and Low Back Pain

If you live with lower back pain, you have a lot of company. Millions of Americans deal with acute lower back pain, and, unfortunately, this pain becomes chronic for 20% of sufferers. And when it comes to back pain, there’s one cause that’s often overlooked: your feet.

The connection between your feet and your lower back pain may not seem immediately obvious. However, there is more than one way that your feet and back pain can be linked. In this blog, the doctors at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain the connection between back pain and your feet.

Your nerves, your lower back, and your feet

Lower back pain can have many causes that are connected to the feet. One of the most common is a problem with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is actually a bundle of five nerves that runs from the lower part of your spine down your legs. When this nerve is pinched or compressed, you may feel pain in your lower back and feet. 

Biomechanical issues

Sometimes, your lower back pain can be due to biomechanical issues. This can be due to having a bad posture or having one leg that’s longer than the other.

Also, you may have flat feet. This condition can cause your thighs and knees to rotate inward, which can cause an exaggerated curvature of your lower back. Over time, this posture can put more pressure on your hips and knees and lead to back pain.

Pronation issues

If you’ve been in the running world for a while or have recently been shopping for running shoes, you may be familiar with the concept of pronation. Both underpronation and overpronation are very common issues that can contribute to lower back pain.

Overpronation is what occurs when your feet turn inward. If you tend toward overpronation, you may find the inside of your soles flattened from wear. The inward motion of the foot, especially as you’re walking or running, can also cause pain in your lower back and knees.

Underpronation ― also called supination ― is the opposite. With underpronation, your feet turn excessively outward when you run or walk. This can cause your spine and hips to get out of alignment, which can lead to lower back pain.

Proper footwear

Wearing the right shoes is more than just an issue of fashion; it’s also a matter of crucial importance for your spinal and foot health. If you frequently wear shoes that don’t have proper arch support, you’ll likely contribute to pain in both your lower back and your feet. Wearing the right shoes can help correct common foot issues.

Choosing the correct footwear is important, especially if you regularly walk, run, or perform other athletic activities. You need shoes that provide enough arch support to keep your spine in proper alignment. In some cases, you may also need orthotics. If you need help selecting the right shoes or orthotics, we can give you a thorough exam and recommend options for you to consider. 

If you have lower back pain and want to see if your feet are contributing to the problem, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine today.

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