It has been estimated that up to 80% of Australians will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Although most of us know that back pain is a common symptom, not everyone is aware that foot function plays a role in some cases of back pain.
What do feet have to do with back pain?
It is not uncommon to find that people who experience back pain also have abnormal gait or foot asymmetry. Abnormal biomechanics of the feet can lead to pain in other parts of the body, including the knees, hips and lower back. For example, if your feet roll in excessively (flat feet) or if there is asymmetry between your right and left feet, then these factors can affect your posture and contribute to back pain. Back pain can also be associated with a Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) (where one leg is shorter than the other).
What can a podiatrist do for my back pain?
A podiatrist will be able to assess your foot function to determine whether your feet are contributing to your back pain. This will involve an initial examination including history of symptoms, biomechanical assessment and gait evaluation. In order to confirm whether your foot function is contributing to back pain, we may use temporary measures (such as taping or temporary full length raises) to test whether this helps to reduce your back pain.
Following an assessment, if your podiatrist does not think your back pain is related to foot function then we will endeavour to refer you to another health care professional who will be able to assist further with your specific problem.
If it does appear that foot function is playing a role in your back pain, then your podiatrist can offer treatment to correct the biomechanical function of your feet and legs. In many cases of back pain associated with foot function, custom foot orthotics is the most effective treatment to improve foot function. Orthotics to address back pain are designed to limit any excessive motion of the feet, and to improve symmetry between the left and right feet.
Arrange an assessment with one of our podiatrists today to find out how we can help you.