The Connection Between Flat Feet and Lower Back Pain

Flat feet don’t always lead to discomfort, but when they do, that discomfort can stretch from your feet up to your lower back, causing pain in your ankles, knees, and hips along the way. The reason for this is that your body relies on balance and alignment for pain-free function, and it all starts in your all-important feet. When you stand and your feet are well supported by healthy arches, it encourages proper alignment in your legs. When your legs are aligned, your hips are aligned, and your spine sits stress-free on these balanced lower structures.

When you have flat feet, your arches collapse and your ankles can roll inward. This upsets the alignment up through your legs and into your hips and lower back, which can lead to joint pain and muscle strain in your lower back as your body compensates for the misalignments.

Treating Flat Feet (and Lower Back Pain)

If you suspect your chronic lower back pain may be related to your flat feet, we can often remedy the problem at the source. One of our frontline treatments is to ensure that your footwear is providing the extra support your feet need if the arches aren’t doing the work. If your footwear falls short, we can outfit you with custom orthotics that rebalance your feet. Once we check that your arches are properly supported, we also recommend physical therapy that can help to re-establish support for your arches.

While surgery is rarely called for when it comes to flat feet, in severe cases, this approach may be the best solution.

Eric Harmelin, DPM
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Experienced Amputation Prevention Specialist and Podiatrist in Annapolis, Stevensville, and Glen Burnie, MD.