If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from acute or chronic low-back pain, you may be wondering how to pinpoint the cause of your condition.
Believe it or not, the way you walk, stand, and otherwise treat your feet can have potentially devastating consequences on your back health. Read on to learn more about identifying the often-overlooked link between foot pain and back pain.
The Connection Between Your Nerves, Your Feet, and Your Back
Even a normal walking pace can place at least twice your body weight on your feet with each step you take. Although your feet are designed to absorb the shock of walking or running on a daily basis, even a slight mistake in form, footwear, or similar factors can lead to misplaced stress on your lower body.
This stress can include wearing out the tissue in your lower back through continued misalignment while walking. As your low-back tissue grows weaker due to poor walking posture or foot position, your sciatic nerve can become compressed or otherwise aggravated.
This in turn can create either short-term or recurring pain in your lower back, as well as shooting leg pains. In other words, you could develop sciatica and other forms of back pain thanks to problems with your feet. If left unaddressed, this can lead to continued pain and further degeneration throughout the muscles and other tissue of your lower back.
One of the biggest culprits for back pain is poor gait. “Gait” refers to the way that your limbs move as you walk or run. If you like to jog but have poor running form, or even if you walk in a manner that fails to distribute your weight evenly with every step, you could be harming your lower back through improper gait.
Symptoms of poor gait can include poor joint health, leg and back stiffness, and overall bodily fatigue and tiredness. Poor walking or running form is often exacerbated or even outright caused by unsupportive shoes. For instance, wearing high heels or worn-out gym sneakers every day won’t do your feet or your walking posture any favors.
On the other hand, wearing shoes that have been specifically designed to provide foot support, such as shoes with orthotic insoles, can support a healthy gait and help correct weight distribution issues when you walk.
Improper Foot Posture
Apart from your walk, the shape of your feet or the way that you stand on them throughout the day can also be detrimental to your low-back health. Many runners are familiar with the concept of pronation, but you don’t have to be a marathoner to benefit from learning about correct foot posture.
When your feet turn inward, that’s called overpronation. Excessive foot pronation of this sort may be caused by a foot deformity such as flat feet. Meanwhile, if you have a problem with your feet facing outward, that is known as underpronation or supination. This latter issue especially can throw off your spine and hip alignment.
Pelvic and spinal misalignments are perhaps the greatest cause of back pain in general and low-back pain in general. This means that poor foot posture could be the direct culprit of your chronic or acute lower back issues.
How to Treat Foot Issues
As mentioned above, custom orthotic inserts or store-bought orthotics can be a great help when it comes to providing proper gait and foot support. Even if your feet tend toward overpronation or supination, you can still greatly benefit from having the right amount of support in your footwear. Wearing proper footwear can support your spinal alignment and keep your lower back tissue from undergoing constant wear and tear.
Consulting a podiatrist can also help when it comes to establishing correct foot posture and gait patterns. A trained foot doctor can examine your walking or running style and guide you toward a healthier way to move throughout your daily life.
Contact Cornerstone Chiropractic Today to Schedule an Appointment
Are you currently experiencing acute or recurring back pain? The relief you’ve been looking for can be found through gentle, non-invasive back pain treatments from the experts at Cornerstone Chiropractic.
Our neurological-based chiropractic care focuses on your overall wellness and is designed with your needs in mind. Give us a call or make an appointment online to start living pain-free today!