If you have chronic back pain, take a look at your feet. There can be a connection between flat feet, also called fallen arches, and that ache in your lower back. A trip to the podiatrist will verify the connection and you may be on your way to getting rid of the pain. Here is why your feet may be causing the pain and how the foot doctor can help you get rid of it.
The Importance of the Arch in Your Foot
The Achilles' tendon attaches your calf muscle to the heel bone. A band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, runs along the bottom of your foot, connecting the heel bone to the base of the toes. These tissues work together to hold the arch in your foot. The arch acts as a shock absorber each time you step down. It also causes your foot to rotate in at the ankle and turn out slightly. This shape aligns your ankle, knee and hip in the right anatomical position taking stress off of those joints and your lower back.
When the foot fails to maintain the arch, it settles onto the floor, rotating out and turning in slightly. This puts all of the joints from ankle to hip out of alignment and creates stress
Causes of Fallen Arches
A number of conditions can cause this condition including:
- Family history of weak muscles and tendons in the foot.
- Injury to the Achilles' tendon or plantar fascia.
- Excess stress on the foot muscles and tendons during physical activity.
- Weight gain beyond what the arch in your foot can bear.
Treatment of Fallen Arches
Your podiatrist will determine the extent of the loss of the arch and the likely causes. They will initially recommend one or more of the following non-invasive treatment options:
- Physical therapy - This strengthens the muscles in the foot to help hold the arch in place.
- Custom orthotics - Shoe inserts may be used to create an artificial arch in your foot permanently or as a temporary support while other procedures to reconstruct the arch are being done.
- Ankle brace - A brace to hold the ankle in better alignment with the knee and hip may take some of the stress off of your lower back.
When these non-invasive approaches fail to give you adequate pain relief, your foot doctor may recommend one of these surgical procedures:
- Foot bone fusion - Some of the bones in your foot may be fused together to create an arch. While you'll gain better alignment with this
arch, you won't have the shock absorber effect.
- Tendon repositioning - The surgeon may move the tendons around
inyour foot to get better leverage and hold the arch more securely in place.
- Reshaping - Small amounts of bone can be shaved away on the bottom of the foot to create a more natural arch, creating better alignment and giving you the shock absorber benefit. To learn more, speak with someone like Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC.