Have Lower Back Pain? The Problem (and Solution) Could Involve Your Feet

Mar 1, 2021

Pain that starts in one area of the body has a bad habit of spreading to other areas, especially if you do not identify and correct the problem early.

Your feet are one of the best examples of this phenomenon. If you are currently experiencing pain not just in your feet but also in your knees, hips, or even lower back, there is a very real chance that your feet are the primary source of the problem.

The good news, however, is this works both ways. If the problem is with the feet, the solution often is as well. In many cases, the right pair of shoe inserts or custom orthotics can set your whole body right again.

The reason? Biomechanics. Let’s dig deeper to understand why.

Back pain image of skeleton

Why Your Feet May Be Responsible For Your Back Pain

Imagine a building that is resting on top of a crumbling or tilting foundation.

There may be nothing wrong whatsoever with the quality of the walls, ceilings, doors or windows. But if the foundation is bad, cracks will start to develop in otherwise strong materials. Doors and windows will start to stick or jam. The whole house may start to fall apart!

The simple fact is these other parts of the house are built to withstand “normal” stresses, and a poor foundation forces them to deal with increased loads and pressures which they are not designed to handle. Eventually, through no fault of their own, they start to fail.

You can think of your feet and body in very much the same way. The feet are your body’s foundation, and they have been designed to operate in a certain way to dampen impact forces before they reach the muscles, bones, and joints higher up the kinetic chain.

If you are dealing with a biomechanics flaw in your feet—say flat feet, high arches, severe overpronation, a significant discrepancy in the length of the legs, etc.—it forces the rest of the body to work harder to compensate for the lack of support from the feet. Poor foot alignment directly leads to poor alignment in the legs and spine.  The end result, quite often, is pain that starts in the feet but can easily affect the legs and back as well.

Foot during scanning on device

Foot Biomechanics Problems Often Have a (Relatively) Simple Fix

If the foundation of your home requires major repairs, you might be out tens of thousands of dollars—or you might decide to change houses entirely.

You can’t switch your body, but the good news is the vast majority of foot biomechanics issues can be addressed with either a carefully selected medical-grade support or a custom-made set of orthotics. These devices fit into your shoes, giving your feet and ankles the support, stability, and repositioning they need to do their jobs correctly—and that means the tension throughout your legs and back can be relieved as well.

However, this does not mean you can just go down to the pharmacy and choose a pair of “orthotics” off the shelf. Just like glasses with the wrong prescription won’t help your vision, the wrong set of orthotics won’t fix your foot, leg, or back pain. You need the right pair, and that means you need a specialist who truly understands foot and ankle biomechanics and how they contribute to pain throughout the body.

Dr. Bobrowski at InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry specializes in biomechanics and can help ensure your feet get exactly the support they need.

For some people, that may mean over-the-counter inserts are sufficient. If so, we not only carry a selection of high-quality prefabricated medical-grade supports that are better than what you can typically find at a store, but we also have the tools, materials, and experience to modify those inserts in-office to fine-tune the fit. (You certainly will not get this level of expertise and service in just any podiatry clinic.)

For others—particularly those with a severe foot deformity or extremely flexible flatfoot—a set of custom orthotics may be required to properly alleviate symptoms. As the name suggests, these devices are made from scratch to fit an individual set of feet. At our office, we take great care in getting the best possible impression of your feet, in a neutral, non-weight bearing position, so that precise measurements can be taken to ensure your orthotics support and balance your feet as optimally as possible.

Put Your Feet (and Your Whole Body) Back Into Alignment

Of course, it is important to acknowledge that there are many possible causes of knee, hip, or back pain. Feet are only one possibility, and a close examination by a foot specialist like Dr. Bobrowski will be necessary in order to make that determination.

However, the link between foot problems and back problems is a lot stronger and much more common than most people realize. So, if you are dealing with multiple issues with your lower body—from the feet up—please reach out! There is a great chance we will be able to help you solve multiple problems, simply by adjusting your foundation.

You can call our office in New Bern at (252) 638-4700, or complete the contact form below to request your appointment. Thank you!