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"Is My Aching Back Related To My Feet?"

Lower back problems are one of the most common ailments in the medical world. They cause people to miss work, prevent them from exercising and can cause tremendous quality of life issues. Unless you are dealing with a specific incident or accident, lower back problems usually develop gradually and get worse with time. If you treat the problem early, it may only be muscle or disc-related, which is easier to treat. I recommend going to an orthopedist or chiropractor for proper evaluation and treatment (which usually includes physical therapy). As things progress, arthritis and other boney-related entities (such as spinal stenosis) come into the equation and are harder to treat. So can your feet and legs be influencing your bad back? Possibly, so here are some possible causes: 1. Having a "limb length discrepancy"- Having one leg longer can lead to gait asymmetries which can translate all the way up to your lower back. One of the most common causes of this is having had hip or knee replacement surgery. Although this is not intended, it is a common consequence of a prosthesis. 2. Having "flat feet"- Flat feet or "pes planus" cause excessive inward motion of the feet which translates up the leg, through the ankle, knee, hip and going up to the lower back. Using an "orthotic" (prescription arch-support) can give your body a more stable foundation and reduce this excess motion. 3. Having "high-arch feet"- High arches or "pes cavus" function as rigid feet and are poor shock- absorbers. This increased force resonates from the feet all the way up to the back. Having an "orthotic" made of a softer material, can help balance the feet and add some additional shock absorption that is lacking in this foot type. In conclusion, lower back problems are widespread and can cause a big impact on your quality of life. Besides going to professionals such as orthopedists, chiropractors and physical therapists to treat the condition, it might be a good idea to visit a podiatrist as well in order to get a complete lower extremity biomechanical examination. Don't be afraid to consider an orthotic for your shoes. It might be a difference-maker for your back and your feet! Climb aboard the “Wellness Wagon” and remember to “Start With Your Feet". Walk Strong…with orthotics, Doc Rick DPM

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