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Can foot pain cause back pain?


Pain is never welcome, but one of the most devastating pains can be back pain. Affecting and constricting almost every movement, back pain can often radiate from and into other parts of the body. There are many things that can bring on back pain – stress, nerve damage, too much activity, not enough activity, poor posture and many other reasons. One of these other reasons is foot pain.


Although foot pain may seem likely an unlikely source for your back pain, it can be quite common. Think about it, everything in your body is connected. And it’s because of this connection, that pain in one part of your body can cause pain in others.


So, can your foot pain lead to back pain?

Short answer, yes. The feet are a vital part of our moving body and as such are at times susceptible to pain. As the feet are connected to the legs, any complications with the feet can work their way up the leg and hip, and into the back.


There are many ways that the feet can influence back pain.


Both flatter feet and severely arched feet can cause problems for your back. As these foot types differ from the norm, they can lead to both severe lengthening and shortening of important muscles and tendons within the legs. This, of course, then affects the muscles in the hips. The hips may experience tightness which can throw off the pelvis alignment. Without the pelvis in alignment, the back will often to stay in its proper alignment.


Flatter feet can also cause back pain through their bones. People with flatter feet will often have an inward rotation in their lower leg bones. This rotation then causes the upper legs to rotate inwards, and as a result, throws the pelvis out of alignment. Again, the pelvis is unable to maintain the original alignment of the back, which can lead to over-extension to one side (whichever side is flatter-footed).


Other misalignments in the foot (i.e. feet that turn inwards or outwards) can also contribute to both foot and back pain.


Additionally, every step we take sends a shockwave through our bodies. For most of us, our feet and legs absorb most of this shock. However, for those with misaligned feet, this shock can instead be absorbed by the hips and lower back. This is amplified if you are an active person, who spends a lot of time on their feet – especially running or jumping.


How to combat back pain caused by foot pain

A combination of podiatry and physical therapy will likely be a large part of your treatment plan if you are suffering from back pain as a result of your feet. Regularly visiting a podiatrist will help to correct the source of the issue and will provide long-lasting results for both your foot and back pain.


Part of your treatment with your podiatrist may include correcting the foot placement via orthotics. Orthotics work to correct the alignment of the foot and offer a non-invasive way to manage back pain caused by foot pain.


If you are experiencing any foot or back pain, it is best to visit your GP or podiatrist to get their expert opinion.