Do Flat Feet Cause Back Pain? – Causes & Treatment

Flat feet could be a normal thing for many, but researches have proved that it can cause many other complications. Be it shin splints, knee pain, or bunions, flat feet are one of the major causes of many foot deformities.

But do flat feet cause back pain? The simple answer is yes, flat feet can cause knee pain & back pain, minor or severe depending upon the condition. Back pain is a common problem faced by around one in five people. However, those with fallen arches have a higher probability of back pain than others.

Let’s discuss in detail how back pain is related to flat feet.

Flat feet and back pain

The human body is connected in a very complex manner. Every body part has a link with others, and any deformity in one can cause trouble for others. The same goes for flat feet.

Flat feet affect your gait (the way you walk) and cause balance issues for your entire body. These balance issues put extra stress on your spine and hip joints. Hence this excessive stress results in the form of persistent back pain.

Another factor is wearing unsupportive shoes. If you have flat feet and you’re using customized supportive shoes, things are going to get complicated for you. Your chances of experiencing lower back pain are increased manifolds.

Treatment

Now that you know how flat feet can increase your possibility of back pain, let’s talk about the best treatment to prevent this situation. The best thing to help relieve your back pain caused by flat feet is custom made orthotics or insoles.

Orthotics are custom made insoles that are inserted inside your shoes. When you wear shoes, these insoles provide you with better stability and support. These insoles help your feet in maintaining the fallen arches and keeping the feet steady.

The doctor or podiatrist helps you find the best orthotics according to your needs. No other person with flat feet can use the same orthotics as yours because these are totally customized.

Moreover, orthotics are usually recommended in addition to other therapies. The doctor could prescribe you some anti-inflammatory drugs or may suggest that you get physical therapy along with trying out orthotics. 

Pain caused by flat feet cannot be permanently healed with orthotics. For that, you may need to consult a podiatrist or do stretching exercises regularly. This will not only strengthen your foot muscles but also minimize the pain.

What are flat feet?

Having flat feet means that you have lost the arch in your feet (it could be single or both feet) or you have inborn flat feet. It could be due to multiple reasons. Flat feet can affect your body posture or the way you walk or run.

Flat feet is one of the most common foot problems that affects around 8 million youngsters in the US. It is a physical condition that is characterized as a loss of an arch in one or both feet. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the population go through this flat feet problem once in their lifetime.

Flat feet could be of two types. One type is such that it doesn’t affect daily life activities along with no negative impacts. However, the other one could be worse and could cause huge trouble for many.

How to check if you have flat feet?

There are several ways to check if you have flat feet or not. One of the most common things is to get yourself tested by a professional podiatrist. This kind of testing involves medical exams that could be a visual examination or some kind of X-ray. In rare cases, an MRI is also carried out to find the exact foot problem.

Apart from these ways, you can also carry out different tests at home. These tests will help you identify if you have flat feet or not.

Footprint test

The first technique is this footprint test. This test will most probably provide you authentic results about your flat feet.

All you need is a dish of water, a small white paper and a foot of course.

  •         First of all, take off your shoes or any foot accessories.
  •         Pour water into the baking dish to half fill it.
  •         Put your foot into the water and soak it.
  •         Take out your feet from the water and place them on the white paper.
  •         Step off the paper and you’re done.

Results

If you have a fully connected footprint onto the paper that means you have flat feet. However, if your foot is partially connected it means that you have normally arched feet.

Tiptoes test

Another test that you can take to identify your flat feet is the tiptoe test. You don’t need anything for this test. Simply stand straight onto your feet and you can do it.

  •         Remove your socks, shoes, or any other foot accessories.
  •         Stand straight onto the floor.
  •         Put your hands onto the wall or any chair for balance and support.
  •         Slowly put your weight and stand on your tiptoes.

Results

If you see no arch in your foot, it means you have flat feet.

What causes flat feet?

There could be more than one reason that causes flat feet. Some of the reasons are genetic, while others could be acquired. Below are a few major causes.

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

PTTD is a medical condition that affects one of the foot’s most crucial tendons: the posterior tibial tendon. That’s from where its name is generated. If a person has flat feet caused by PTTD, he/she may feel pain in the foot or along the back calf.

The tendons present in the foot are mainly responsible for supporting the arch. If the tendons are torn or get injured, it can lead to a collapsed arch. This way, the person can acquire painful flat feet, especially when walking or standing.

Injury

Injuries are one of the common causes that lead to physical disabilities. Flat feet can also be caused by injury, regardless of how major or minor it is. If the injury affects the tendons in your foot, there are higher chances of the arch collapsing.

Lisfranc injury is the kind of injury that affects the middle of the foot. This is highly painful and can cause serious trouble for the bearer.

Apart from injuries, severe workouts can also cause flat feet. That is why sportsmen and athletes have a higher rate of flat feet than other people

Obesity

Obesity is one of the most common causes of adult-acquired flat feet. As the body gain weight, the pressure on the feet increases. This increased pressure can cause the arch to collapse, ultimately leading to flat feet.

The arches are responsible for bearing body weight and also act as shock absorbers. When the strain increases on arches, they can collapse.

According to research, obesity and flat feet have a strong connection with the former highly affecting the latter one. So if you lose weight, you will see a clear difference in your flat feet condition.

If you lose weight, it’s going to relieve many other health conditions along with flat feet. As the weight goes down, it provides better blood flow to the feet along with dispersing the pressure.

To read a detailed article on all the major causes of flat feet, click here.

Conclusion

We hope that this article helps you clear out any confusion regarding flat feet and back pain. If you have any further queries or suggestions, feel free to contact us.

Orthotics are best to help back pain caused by flat feet. But you need to keep in mind that orthotics are not for everyone. If you’re having severe foot conditions, your doctor could suggest other possible ways to help lessen the effects.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449819/
  2. https://www.scitechnol.com/peer-review/does-obesity-cause-flat-foot-jGkD.php?article_id=7788

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