For many years, people have looked to their feet as possible causes of chronic back pain, and likewise podiatrists have treated foot alignment as the foundation of the body’s posture. Now recent research completed by an Australian Podiatrist in the UK has revealed a strong link between pronated (or flat) feet and lower back pain in women.
The data for the study was obtained from the Framingham Foot study, the world’s largest population based foot study with over 3,300 participants. The study found that women who had pronated feet were 50% more likely to have lower back pain than those without pronated feet.
Brisbane Podiatrist, Darren Stewart, and his team have treated lower back pain with foot orthoses for the last two decades. He said it was great to see the science backing up what we have known for years. “Our feet form the basis of our posture and flat feet, combined with hard unforgiving surfaces, forces our legs to pivot inwards and our pelvis to dip forward. This increases intervertebral disc compression and adds increased load on the supporting muscles”
Footwear plays a vital role in support, however generally it lacks sufficient arch support to align the foot properly. “We use custom made full length foot orthotics made from a firm but comfortable rubber to achieve optimal foot alignment and this can be the most important link to curing back pain” said Stewart. Podiatrists also check for unequal leg length, which is a surprising common feature in patients suffering long term back pain.
The study also revealed a correlation between foot pain and physical performance, and a hereditary link for the development of bunions and toe deformities.