Back Pain

The foot being the base and foundation for our body, many back and neck problems can be related to the way we stand and walk. Two very common causes of lower back pain treated by Podiatrists are over-pronation and functional short leg.

CAUSES - If you watch a person with over-pronating feet i.e. feet that roll in excessively when standing or walking, you will notice that there are consequences further up the leg, hip and back: the legs turns inward, the knees will tend to be “knock-kneed”, the pelvis and hips tilt forward and the buttocks are pushed outward resulting in an increased curvature of the back and tightening of the muscles in the lower back area to compensate. Often a secondary curvature of the upper body (thoracic area) develops.

One leg shorter than the other can be either structural (the bones in one leg are actually shorter than in the other leg) or functional. A functional short leg can be due to over-pronation in one foot more than in the other which rotates or twists the pelvis which becomes misaligned. When this happens, the leg is pulled up higher into the hip socket, the joints in the pelvis may be impinged, causing pain and discomfort and the leg muscle to shorten.

Other common causes for lower back pain are Hallux limitus (very stiff toe joints and joints in the ball of the foot) and ankle joint equinus (toe walking). These conditions affect the way people stand and walk and can have painful implications in the pelvis and lower back.

TREATMENT – Custom-made orthotics (also called “arch-supports”) are the best way to treat and prevent over-pronation. They are custom-made shoe inserts which will give controlled support to the arch and hence neutralise abnormal foot pronation.

They thereby maintain the normal biomechanics and posture of the foot and leg, limiting pelvic tilt and muscular tightening of the lower back area. Heel lifts can be used to raise a structural short leg. The amount of support and correction necessary will be best measured by a Podiatrist who may also prescribe stretching exercises to relieve the gradual shortening of the affected muscles. Orthotics need to be worn between 75 and 80% of the time when weight bearing to be effective.

The pain itself can be relieved with anti-inflammatories, but the disorder must be treated by a podiatrist to avoid further damage to the spinal joints.

Read more about orthotics here.

For any questions about back pain, orthotics, or our treatment procedures, give us a call.

Related Links

Do I need orthotics?
What are orthotics?
The feet are the foundation of the skeleton (Serpentine Runnign Club UK)
Treating lower back pain with orthotics (Rennes University France)

All information provided on this web site is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for medical diagnosis, prognosis or treatment for any specific conditon or individual. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information found here is no substitute for the advice of a qualified physician.



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