Low back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work for Americans. This really doesn’t come as a surprise though. Studies show that around 50% of working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. And, 80% of adults in America will experience low back pain at some point in their life. It could be triggered by a fall or injury, improperly lifting heavy objects, pushing your body too far on a workout or project, or doing something as simple as bending over to pick up a pencil. But did you know that your feet and arch could actually be the cause behind your aching back and end-of-day fatigue? Keep reading to find out why proper posture (and a dropped arch) can play a big role in how you move and feel.
Your feet are your foundation
Your body is an intricate machine. When one part isn’t functioning as it should, it can throw everything off. This is especially true when it comes to your feet. Your feet are the foundation (or support) for every step you take!
Obviously, factors such as age, occupation, poor posture, and overall fitness also play a role in how your back feels. But if you don’t give your body the support and core strength it needs to carry weight and perform normal everyday activities, chances are you’ll end up with back problems in the future.
The reason behind this is that any time your support structure is weakened or out of balance, your body has to work harder to keep your feet, knees, hips, and low back functioning.
How to tell if your back pain is related to your feet
Just for fun, take a look at the inside of your foot. Really study it for a second. A normal adult foot has an upward curve in the middle. This is called your arch. It’s formed by several tendons (or tight bands that attach to the heel and foot bones) in your foot and lower leg. When the tendons are working correctly – meaning they all pull the proper amount – your foot has a neutral or normal arch. When they aren’t pulling correctly, your foot can lean toward the outside (supination) or it can lean to the inside (pronation) where there is little or no arch. This causes a flat foot or fallen arch.
Here’s a quick test to see if you have a dropped arch or flat feet.
- Get your feet wet.
- Stand on a flat surface like a concrete walkway.
- Step away and look at your footprint. If you see a complete footprint, you likely have flat feet.
What happens to your body when your arch collapses
When the arch in your foot collapses, your body immediately tries to make up for the imbalance and triggers a series of reactions up the joint chain. This can create a leg length discrepancy and alter your posture all the way up.
Over time, this can lead to plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, knee pain, ankle pain, hip pain, and chronic low back pain! It can also increase your risk of developing arthritis! Needless to say, this is something you can and should correct as soon as you can to save yourself from unnecessary aches and pains in the future.
Common reasons for a dropped arch
Our feet and bodies are constantly changing from weight changes, pregnancy, overuse, and more. Some of the most common reasons for dropped arches include:
- You were born with it
- Stretched or torn tendons
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Nerve problems
How to treat low back pain that’s caused by a dropped arch
Treatment for low back pain comes in many shapes and sizes. Medical doctors may recommend a series of strength or stretching exercises, pain medications, or even surgery. But before you decide on which course of action to take, get a foot exam at your local AlignLife clinic and talk with your chiropractor about what the underlying cause of your back pain really is.
If it’s your feet, it’s a simple and fairly inexpensive fix with a quality orthotic. That’s right. By simply restoring your foot to a normal, functional arch, we can help normalize the posture and alignment of your lower body. The result? Lasting relief from lower back pain because your body no longer has to overcorrect the problems caused by your feet!
Custom-made orthotics, which are available at many AlignLife clinics, are uniquely designed to directly and completely support and restore the arch of your foot. This helps correct low back posture and restores proper function for prolonged, pain-free foot health. It also may be the difference between long-term success and failure in your quest to be rid of low back pain for good.
Want to know more about how AlignLife can help support your feet and back?
Reach out to your local AlignLife clinic and set up a time to chat! Also, be sure to check out this article on spring break and summer footwear (we’re looking at you, flip flops!) to make sure your shoes are giving you the support you need!