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Do Your Flat Feet Cause Back Pain? Here’s What You Need To Know

Do Your Flat Feet Cause Back Pain

Written by Dr. Derek Larsen, DC

Dr. Derek Larsen, DC, founder of Happy Family Chiropractic, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his practice. Born and raised on a small ranch in Northern California, Dr. Derek learned the value of hard work and determination early on. Throughout high school, he excelled in four sports: football, wrestling, swimming, and track. After high school, Dr. Derek served his community as a wildland firefighter, funding his initial undergraduate studies and a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His missionary work took him to Costa Rica, where he spent two years serving the local population. Upon returning, he completed his bachelor’s degree in biology at Brigham Young University Hawaii. During the summers, he worked as a fishing guide in Southeast Alaska, a place he fell in love with and decided to return to after completing his chiropractic education. Dr. Derek attended Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, California, where he discovered his passion for pediatric chiropractic care. He is actively pursuing certification from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) to better serve children of all ages. Dr. Derek's enthusiasm for working with kids stems from his belief that he will always retain a youthful spirit, no matter his age. Outside of his professional life, Dr. Derek is an avid outdoor enthusiast. He enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, and scuba diving—any activity that allows him to immerse himself in nature. His loyal dog, Buckwheat, is always by his side on these adventures. With his diverse background, commitment to excellence, and genuine love for his community, Dr. Derek Larsen, DC, exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional chiropractor, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of families in Southeast Alaska.

Last Updated on May 21, 2024

Our feet support our body’s weight, aid in movement, and absorb the shocks and stresses of daily activities. Given their position and the fact that they are often within footwear, it is not uncommon for us to remain oblivious to potential issues or abnormalities until discomfort or pain in other body parts becomes apparent. This oversight leads to an important question — can flat feet cause back pain?

What Are Flat Feet?

When someone with a healthy arch stands, a noticeable space exists under the inner part of their foot because the arch elevates slightly off the ground. However, this gap is absent or significantly reduced in flat-foot individuals.

Flat feet exhibit either an extremely low arch or none, resulting in one or both feet making complete contact with the ground. Medical professionals call flat feet “fallen arches” or “pes planus.” Generally, there are two types of flat feet.

  1. Flexible Flat Foot: This condition is predominant in children. When the child stands, the arch in their foot tends to vanish. However, the arch becomes noticeable once they either sit or elevate their heels off the ground like when walking on tiptoes.
  2. Rigid Flat Foot: This type lacks an arch irrespective of the foot’s position or activity, including standing or lifting the heel.

Causes of Flat Feet

Certain conditions and lifestyles can increase the risk and directly contribute to the manifestation of flat feet. A few of these notable factors are:

  • Obesity: Arches bear the additional stress caused by excess body weight.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal and weight changes during pregnancy can cause temporary or permanent changes to foot structure.
  • Diabetes: This condition can affect foot health.
  • Trauma: Injuries to the feet or ankles can damage the tendons.
  • Family History: Genetics play a role, with flat feet often running in families.
  • Age: Both young individuals whose arches have not yet fully developed and older adults may be more susceptible due to the natural weakening of tendons.
  • Medical Conditions: Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain conditions affecting tendons can contribute to the development of flat feet. Additionally, diseases affecting the nervous or muscular systems can be factors.
  • Extended Physical Stress: Long periods of standing or walking — especially in older age — can wear down the posterior tibial tendon, which is crucial for maintaining foot arches.
  • Tendonitis or Tendon Damage: Overuse or injury can lead to tendon issues.
  • Tarsal Coalition: A condition where foot bones fuse, causing stiffness and flat feet.

Flat Feet Symptoms

While flat feet often originate in childhood, the condition can manifest later in life. The primary indicator of flat feet is usually discomfort in the feet, stemming from overstrained muscles and ligaments. This discomfort can extend to the knee and hip due to abnormal pressures.

Pain and potential swelling or stiffness typically impact other lower body areas. Additionally, flat feet may lead to uneven body weight distribution, causing premature or uneven wear on shoes, notably more on one side. This unevenness might also affect an individual’s ability to walk or run smoothly.

Do Flat Feet Cause Back Pain?

The structure of your musculoskeletal system is intrinsically connected, featuring joints of varying sizes. These joints serve as pivotal meeting points for bones, and any misalignment — especially from bones that connect at angles — can disrupt the whole joint’s equilibrium.

The disruption is a notable consequence of flat feet. The lack of arch support typically leads to inward rolling of the feet or overpronation. This alteration in foot posture changes your walking pattern and places undue strain on your ankles and knees.

While ankles are relatively adaptable due to their multi-directional mobility, knees are not as versatile, primarily designed for forward and backward movement. Thus, overpronation forces the knees into unnatural positions.

The chain of poor alignment can extend upward, causing your hips to adjust improperly in response to your knees. Eventually, this cascade of maladjustments can affect your lower back, potentially leading to persistent dull pain.

Flat Feet and Back Pain

In a study, 65.9% of participants with flat feet experienced lower back pain (LBP), with acute LBP (ALBP) reported by 51.6% and chronic LBP (CLBP) by 48.4%. Those with flat feet were 3.28 times more likely to suffer from ALBP and 4.5 times more likely to have CLBP compared to individuals without flat feet.

Further analysis revealed that ALBP and CLBP incidences were notably higher in people with flat feet. Women were also more prone to ALBP, as were individuals who engaged in little to no physical activity. Both female and older participants had a higher tendency to report both ALBP and CLBP.

Exercises and Other Treatments

A podiatrist or a physical therapist can suggest tailored exercises to alleviate the discomfort associated with flat feet or even avert its onset. These exercises can include heel cord stretching and the golf ball roll. Other pain relief methods include using foot support and making lifestyle changes. Medication and foot surgery may also be best for more severe cases.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic care presents another promising avenue for individuals suffering from discomfort due to flat feet. This treatment focuses on aligning the body’s structure — primarily the spine — to improve function and support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

For those with flat feet, a chiropractor can offer adjustments that help realign the body and alleviate undue stress on the knees, hips, and lower back. This holistic approach not only targets the symptoms but also addresses the root cause, potentially offering a more sustainable solution to pain management.

Happy Family Chiropractic: Visit Your Juneau Chiropractor

Flat feet may sound like a minor inconvenience, but they can actually cause significant discomfort and pain and affect your overall quality of life. Explore how chiropractic care at Happy Family Chiropractic in Juneau can offer relief.

We provide comprehensive full-body adjustments and other services that cater to your unique needs. We are your go-to for trusted chiropractic solutions in Juneau, with our therapies using a holistic, drug-free approach that supports your body’s natural healing processes.

Let’s give your flat feet the attention they need, so your back can all reap the benefits. Call (907) 531-7604 or book an appointment online today!

author avatar
Dr. Derek Larsen, DC Chiropractor
Dr. Derek Larsen, DC, founder of Happy Family Chiropractic, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his practice. Born and raised on a small ranch in Northern California, Dr. Derek learned the value of hard work and determination early on. Throughout high school, he excelled in four sports: football, wrestling, swimming, and track. After high school, Dr. Derek served his community as a wildland firefighter, funding his initial undergraduate studies and a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His missionary work took him to Costa Rica, where he spent two years serving the local population. Upon returning, he completed his bachelor’s degree in biology at Brigham Young University Hawaii. During the summers, he worked as a fishing guide in Southeast Alaska, a place he fell in love with and decided to return to after completing his chiropractic education. Dr. Derek attended Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, California, where he discovered his passion for pediatric chiropractic care. He is actively pursuing certification from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) to better serve children of all ages. Dr. Derek's enthusiasm for working with kids stems from his belief that he will always retain a youthful spirit, no matter his age. Outside of his professional life, Dr. Derek is an avid outdoor enthusiast. He enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, and scuba diving—any activity that allows him to immerse himself in nature. His loyal dog, Buckwheat, is always by his side on these adventures. With his diverse background, commitment to excellence, and genuine love for his community, Dr. Derek Larsen, DC, exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional chiropractor, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of families in Southeast Alaska.

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We are located at 800 Glacier Ave in Juneau, Alaska. Book an appointment today!

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