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Understanding How Flat Feet Can Cause Back, Hip, and Knee Pain

Understanding How Flat Feet Can Cause Back, Hip, and Knee Pain

Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, is a condition where the arches of the feet collapse, causing the entire sole to touch the ground. While some people with flat feet may experience no discomfort, for others, this condition can lead to various musculoskeletal issues, including back, hip, and knee pain.

The arch of the foot serves as a natural shock absorber, distributing the body’s weight evenly across the feet and supporting proper alignment of the ankles, knees, hips, and spine. When the arches collapse, it can disrupt this alignment, leading to a chain reaction of problems throughout the body.

Impact on Back Pain

Learn how fallen arches affect body alignment and contribute to discomfort, and explore effective strategies for managing flat feet to alleviate associated musculoskeletal issues.

Flat feet can contribute to back pain in several ways. The misalignment caused by fallen arches alters the normal gait pattern, affecting the way force is distributed while walking or standing. This can result in overpronation, where the feet roll inward excessively, leading to poor posture and added stress on the lower back.

The lack of arch support can also cause the feet to flatten further, leading to an inward rotation of the ankles, which in turn affects the alignment of the entire lower body. This misalignment puts pressure on the muscles, ligaments, and joints of the back, leading to strain and discomfort.

Hip Issues Linked to Flat Feet

Hip pain is another common problem associated with flat feet. The altered biomechanics caused by fallen arches can lead to an uneven distribution of weight on the hips. This imbalance can result in increased stress on the hip joints, leading to inflammation, stiffness, and pain.

Additionally, the body’s attempt to compensate for the lack of arch support may cause the pelvis to tilt forward or backward, affecting the alignment of the hips. This misalignment can lead to muscle imbalances and further aggravate hip pain.

Relationship with Knee Pain

The relationship between flat feet and knee pain is well-documented. When the arches collapse, it can cause the lower leg to rotate inward, leading to an altered alignment of the knee joint. This unnatural positioning places excessive stress on the knee structures, such as the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage, contributing to pain and discomfort.

Flat feet can also affect the tracking of the kneecap, leading to a condition known as patellar maltracking. This occurs when the kneecap doesn’t move smoothly within its groove, causing pain, swelling, and instability in the knee.

Flat feet can significantly impact the body’s biomechanics, leading to back, hip, and knee pain. Understanding the relationship between fallen arches and musculoskeletal issues is crucial for effective management and treatment.


Imbalances in the feet can lead to knee rotation, back pain, pelvic tilt, and shoulder drop. Can help manage low back pain by improving and stabilizing the position of the feet.

Each subsequent joint above the feet can be considered a “link” in the chain—which goes all the way trunk of the body to the neck.

Over twenty years of treating all types of patients I have found that a custom-made orthotic has helped alleviate back pain in over 100% of my patients.