Flat Feet and Low Back Pain

In the last several years, there has been more research pouring into the literature with regard to the importance of foot biomechanics and low back pain. This is an area that chiropractic has dealt with for years as clinical trials revealed improvement in back pain when problems associated with the feet were attended to.


The most common problem with the feet that is associated with low back pain is that of flat footedness, technically termed pes planus. Equally, if not more important, is the falling inward of the ankle which is technically termed ankle pronation. These two conditions usually coincide and tend to leave the individual with an unstable pelvis. The analogy is similar to take a card table and folding the legs in partially creating an unstable table top. This analogy is accurate in that the increased "knocking" inward of the knees produced by ankle pronation and pes planus produces a less stable pelvis in a similar manner.

 

There are two primary varieties of flat feet, one we are born with (congenital) and the other is acquired. In the more common variety (acquired flexible flat footedness), the ligaments of tissues that hold the joints together simply fail due to time and weight bearing over the years.

It has been estimated that up to 80% of individuals over the age of 30 tend to possess some degree of ankle pronation and flat footedness, and this appears magnified in those who hold occupations demanding prolonged standing positions.

 

The treatment for this condition is the utilization of corrective prescription foot orthotics, better known as arch supports. The proper fitting technique for this is having the feet casted, producing a negative mold which is then sent to a licensed laboratory that fabricates the arch supports. Orthotics are truly a "prescription" and only fit one individual. Many of the companies now offer a lifetime warranty against breakage and even carry insurance plans in case a pair is lost or outgrown. Reimbursement from insurance companies is also becoming more common.

 

If you have had problems in the knee, hip, or low back regions or have foot or ankle complaints, and you feel you may be a candidate for this type of service, it would be appropriate to have your condition assessed for this condition.

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Yeomans-Edinger Chiropractic Center, S.C.