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The Link Between Your Feet and Low Back Pain

The Link Between Your Feet and Low Back Pain

All parts of your body are linked together. And your feet are the foundation! Your entire body is supported and balanced by your feet. Therefore, if your feet are pronated (as 99% of all people’s feet are), your body will suffer – starting with either the knee, hip, or back.

Low back pain is a prevalent and often debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While there are various factors that can contribute to low back pain, one often-overlooked aspect is the connection between your feet and your lower back.

Surprisingly, the health and alignment of your feet can play a significant role in the development and management of low back pain. In this article, we will explore the intricate relationship between your feet and low back pain and discuss how addressing foot issues can potentially alleviate this pain.

Understanding the Foot-Back Connection

The human body is a marvel of interconnected systems, and the musculoskeletal system is no exception. The feet, being our primary point of contact with the ground, serve as the foundation for our entire body. When the feet are not properly aligned or functioning as they should, it can create a chain reaction of stress and strain throughout the body, ultimately affecting the lower back.

Foot Structure: To understand this connection, it’s essential to recognize the role of the arches in your feet. These arches provide shock absorption and distribute weight evenly. Flat feet (pronation) or excessively high arches (supination) can disrupt this balance, causing an imbalance in your gait and posture, which can lead to low back pain over time.

Excess pronation, or overpronation, means that as you walk, your foot rolls toward the inside and your arch tends to flatten out. Your shoe will show uneven wear on the inside part of the sole.  The inward motion of the foot, especially as you’re walking or running, can also cause pain in your lower back and knees.

Supination (Underpronation)

Supination is a rolling motion to the outside edge of the foot during a step. The foot naturally supinates during the toe-off stage of your stride as the heel first lifts off the ground, providing leverage to help roll off the toes.

However, with supination, the foot does not pronate enough at the toe-off stage. This results in all of the work being done by the outer edge of the foot and smaller toes, placing extra stress on the foot. Supination is seen more often in people with high, rigid arches that don’t flatten enough during a stride.

Supination can be associated with running injuries such as ankle injury, iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.

These instabilities can lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, back pain, and neck pain.

Gait Patterns: The way you walk, known as your gait, is closely tied to your foot mechanics. Abnormalities in your gait can lead to compensation patterns that place added stress on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back. For example, if you have overpronation, it can cause your pelvis to tilt forward and increase the curvature of your lumbar spine, potentially leading to chronic lower back pain.

The Benefits of Medical Grade Custom Orthotics

Wearing the right shoes is more than just an issue of fashion; it’s also a matter of crucial importance for your spinal and foot health. If you frequently wear shoes that don’t have proper arch support, you’ll likely contribute to pain in both your lower back and your feet. Wearing the right shoes can help correct common foot issues.

You need shoes that provide enough arch support to keep your spine in proper alignment. 

The most important aspect of orthotic arch supports is the strength at the arch and the heel, these areas must be well supported and strong to help correct the over-pronation and reduce the stress on the joints.

This is why most orthotics don’t work because essentially there is not enough support under the foot, so please don’t waste your time and money on an orthotic that will not offer enough support.

Think of your feet as being like a very highly specialized piece of engineering, like a car for example. if the tires were not properly balanced or one of them was underinflated.

Contact Don Kelly

Do you experience pain daily? Maybe you have hip pain, knee pain or struggle with low back pain? Contact us today at or give us a ring at +0863239194 to experience pain relief and recovery without invasive treatment and unnecessary medication.

At Don Kelly Physiotherapy and Acupuncture, we are confident that anyone who walks through our doors can be helped with our care and commitment to your recovery.