The arch in your foot not only acts as a shock absorber when you step down, it also keeps your ankles, knees and hips in the correct anatomical alignment. When your arch gives out, so does that alignment, which can put stress on your lower back. If you have frequent lower back pain and flat feet, the two may be connected. Here is what causes this condition and how it can be treated so you'll be rid of that annoying pain in your back.
Your Foot's Arch and How It Can Fail
The tendons and muscles in the foot work together to hold the bones in the arch shape. This causes the foot and ankle to roll out slightly, aligning the ankle joint with the knee. Several conditions can make these structures fail and your foot to lose the arch:
- genetically weak muscles and tendons
- an injury to the tissues in the foot
- weight gain beyond what the muscles in the foot can bear
- over-stretching the tendons and muscles during exercise or other physical activities
- diseases, such as arthritis, which affect the muscles
Treatment of Flat Feet
One of your local podiatrists will evaluate the extent and cause of your flat feet, then recommend a number of treatment approaches. It's likely that non-invasive options will be tried first. If those don't give you relief, surgical options are available that will help.
- Orthotics - Custom shoe inserts can create an artificial arch in your foot.
- Physical Therapy - Exercises to strengthen the muscles in the foot will help them better support your arch.
- Braces - Foot and ankle braces may be used to position your foot correctly to relieve the stress on your joints and lower back.
- Tendon Repositioning - The surgeon can move tendons to different attachment points on the foot bones to create more leverage so they can hold your arch in place.
- Foot Bone Fusion - An artificial arch can be created in your foot by fusing the bones together in the proper shape. This gives you an arch that aligns your foot and ankle properly, but you won't get the shock-absorber effect of the natural arch.
Preventing Flat Feet
There are steps you can take to prevent the failure of the arch in some cases:
- Stretch out the muscles and tendons in your feet before exercising or playing sports.
- Warm up your feet in cold weather before doing physical activities that require you to be on your feet.
- Maintain a healthy weight that doesn't put excess stress on your feet.
To learn more, contact a podiatrist like Pinker & Associates.