Flat Feet May be the Cause of Your Chronic Lower Back Pain

If you consider the size of your feet relative to the rest of your body, you can begin to understand the engineering marvel that is the human body. Our complex musculoskeletal structures are interconnected in obvious, and not-so-obvious ways, and much of it comes down to those two small extremities that are the foundation of it all.

Here at Ortho Wellness, under the expert guidance of board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mirylsa Colón-Martínez, we understand how a problem in one area can affect a seemingly unrelated area, which is what we’ve found with our patients who have flat feet. If you’d like to explore how we’ve helped our clients in Boca Raton, Florida, overcome chronic lower back pain by addressing their fallen arches, read on.

Arches absorb impact

Your feet are incredibly complex, starting with the fact that they house more than one-quarter of the total bones in your body. And all of these small bones are connected by a host of tendons, ligaments, and muscles that keep everything together. This large cast of players all work in concert to provide you with the support and mobility you need, and every component, literally, needs to pull its weight.

Critical to this are the arches in your feet. While we commonly talk about the foot having one arch, in reality, each foot has three arches: two longitudinal arches and one transverse arch. Your medial longitudinal arch is the main arch, and it’s the one usually referred to when doctors discuss flat feet. This arch is primarily responsible for shock absorption when you’re moving around. It fields the impact when you’re walking or running.

Behind the fall

When you’re born, you enter the world with flat feet, because your arches haven’t developed yet. Once you take to your feet and become mobile, your arches form. For some people, these arches may never develop, but more often than not, years of wear and tear can take their toll on the tendons that hold your feet, allowing your arches to fall.

A prime example of tendon failure that leads to flat feet is called posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. Your posterior tibial tendon provides the link between your calf muscles and the bones on the inside of your foot, and it plays a critical role in how your foot functions. If this tendon is damaged and inflamed due to overuse, your arches lose the support they need and flatten out.

No matter how your flat feet develop, the bottom line is that this structural irregularity can have a cascading effect that travels up your body.

It’s all connected

As we’ve emphasized above, your feet are Ground Zero when it comes to your musculoskeletal system, so when there’s a problem in this foundational support, its effects may be felt elsewhere in your body. For example, if you have flat feet, your ankles may roll slightly inward when you stand or walk. This altered gait can then affect the alignment of your knees and hips. With the these major joints out of balance, the impact can travel up to your lower back and cause chronic pain.

Unfortunately, when flat feet lead to lower back pain, this means that your other primary foundational support system — your spine — is compromised. Ultimately, flat feet that lead to lower back pain means that much of your body’s main structure is out of alignment, and balance needs to be restored.

Striking a balance

If you have flat feet that are causing lower back pain, there are a number of things we can do to help. To start, we might try custom orthotics and physical therapy to try and regain the right balance in your feet. We might also suggest lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and exercising more.

If your flat feet continue to cause problems, Dr. Colón-Martínez can surgically correct your flat feet and help put an end to your chronic lower back pain.

If you’ve got flat feet, and you’d like to explore your treatment options, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up an appointment.

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