Could flat feet cause back pain?

The answer is yes. Here’s why. If the arch in the foot flattens out (over-pronates) the shin bone and knee twist inward in a cork-screw motion putting stress on the hip and pelvic bones. This can cause the spine to tilt and the back joints to ache. In fact it has been estimated that up to 80% of people over-pronate.

How do you know if this could be causing a problem for you? Easy right? You look at your feet arches and if they are flat then it is possible. Well, no unfortunately it is not that simple. When you walk the arch raises and flattens continuously and standing posture doesn’t tell you much. There is a straight-forward test that can tell us though if you do have a problem. We ask you to stand and roll your feet in. If a previously strong arm muscle goes weak it is likely that you have over-pronation. If you would like us to test you next time you are in then let us know.

Other signs of over-pronation you might look for are un-even shoe wear, a waddle when walking or sore feet at the end of a long day. Bunions and Achilles tendon problems can also be a result.

It is not just back problems that over-pronation can cause. You will walk over 115,000 miles in your lifetime so obviously foot and ankle pain can be a result but also knee and hip arthritis have been shown to be caused, at least in part, by arch problems. Interestingly it seems that the mechanism causing such issues may be a weakening of the leg muscles in response to nerve endings being irritated in and around the foot itself.

If we find an over-pronation problem we recommend wearing a shoe insert, sometimes called a footbed or orthotic, to support the arch better. The best ones we have found are called Superfeet and they out perform every other footbed we have tried and often do better than a customised one from a podiatrist which may cost hundreds of pounds. They are really comfortable and most of us at Sundial wear them all the time.

Golfers found that wearing footbeds improved balance and fatigue and even improved how far they could hit a golf ball. Runners found that long-standing injuries improved and military personnel found that they had fewer injuries in the first place when wearing orthotics. If you think you might be a candidate for Superfeet then mention it next time you are in.


Sundial Clinics, Brighton's favourite chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage clinicsFor better backs, shoulders, knees and necks

Serving Brighton, Hove and the surrounding areas

2 thoughts on “Could flat feet cause back pain?

  1. Great post Sundial Clinics! Thanks for hsraing such sound advice for the treatment of flat feet! Flat Feet can be effectively treated with orthotics that provide biomechanical support and help feet to function more efficiently. The most effective orthotics are those which are custom made to fit your foot. The orthotic should provide both support for the longitudinal arch and medial rear foot posting to combat over pronation. Orthotics should be combined with supportive footwear that fits the foot correctly and contains a firm, low heel.

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