Lower back pain is a very common complaint, with 18% of the worlds population suffering from some form of it. One cause that is commonly overlooked is poor foot mechanics.
When the feet are not functioning properly, it can throw off the entire body's alignment causing issues in the knees, hips and lower back. Studies even show us that chronic lower back pain is 4.5 times more likely in people with flat feet, indicating how important your postural foundations are to your physical wellbeing.
How do your feet cause lower back pain?
There are numerous reasons why our feet and postural foundations cause lower back pain:
1. Overpronation: Commonly known as "flat feet" This occurs when your feet roll too far inwards, causing your legs to rotate inward. This then results in a forward rotation of the pelvis, causing an increase in the curvature of your spine that can place excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back.
2. Poor Postural Foundations: Misalignment, muscle imbalances and reduced mobility in your lower limbs can place excessive stress on the muscles, joints and ligaments in your lower back. Therefore, your lower back has to work harder to support your body, leading to pain with time.
3. Footwear:A lack of support, cushioning or stability provided by your shoes can cause poor alignment and uneven weight distribution, leading to back problems. High heels can also shift your body weight forward, resulting in increased pressure on your lower back and a risk of pain.
How can we treat lower back pain?
Podiatrists are able to diagnose any lower limb problems causing lower back pains through a Biomechanical Analysis and footwear assessment. Podiatrists critically analyse your posture and movements while you stand, walk and run to identify the cause of your lower back pain and assess the suitability of footwear for your individual situation. Through this analysis Podiatrists are able to accurately diagnose the lower limb cause and prescribe the right treatment to alleviate your back pain.
Custom-made orthotics are an effective mechanism to treat and prevent overpronation and reduce the alignment issues that occur as a result. They give controlled support to your arch and rearfoot, hence neutralising abnormal foot pronation. Orthotics maintain the normal biomechanics and posture of the foot and leg, limiting pelvic tilt and muscular strain of the lower back area.
An individualised postural strengthening exercise program may be prescribed to improve the alignment and support of the spine, which can reduce the amount of strain on the lower back. By engaging in postural strengthening exercises you person can improve the strength and endurance of the muscles that support your spine, including the lower back, core, and glutes. which will reduce the likelihood of lower back pain.
Foot Mobilisation Techniques (FMT) can be used to manually manipulate the structures in your feet to realign the bones and joints back into their correct position. This will reset your feet into a more efficient position, allowing an even distribution of pressure up the knees, hips and lower back meaning there will be less excessive strain and a lower likelihood of lower back pain.
The best time to see your Podiatrist is early in the development of symptoms. Take your first step back to pain free book in for a Biomechanical Assessment with one of our experienced Podiatrists today!