How is Foot Pain Related to Low Back Pain?

29 June 2020

Do you remember the time you were unable to work properly because of that unbearable pain from time to time? The time you keep toss and turning at night because you can’t find the right sleeping position to ease the back pain? Or how about the time you woke up in the morning and you felt that sore on your feet and legs when you walk?

If you experienced the mentioned scenes above, then it’s possible that your current foot pain is related to your lower back pain. To get to know how these two are related, we’ve rounded up some interesting facts on the causes and how to relieve the pain.

The Relation Between Foot Pain and Lower Back Pain

It may come as a surprise but most pain we feel in the foot has nothing to do leg or foot itself, unless we’re injured. Foot pain can be caused by an irritated or compressed nerve root located in the lower back. This pain can radiate along the sciatic nerve (the longest nerve in the body), and transcended into the foot.

As stated in an article, it’s not only the feet that’s affected with low back pain – it can be knees, hips, shoulders and spinal joints if left unattended.

Written below are some of the symptom of foot pain:

  • Inability to lift the foot upward. Sometimes, it also comes with numbness in the middle lower leg and foot. This pain occurs if one of the spinal nerve roots in the lower back that innervates the sciatic nerve is affected.
  • Hard to walk on tiptoes. This is a common foot pain felt by people which has basically something to do with sciatic nerve. People who has this experiences difficulty in walking, driving, and different activities.

According to the The Spine Institute, it can also be due to a Lumbar Spinal Stenosis wherein the spaces in the back sometimes become narrow and compresses on the nerves. The following foot pain can cause the tingling sensations, recurring numbness, and general muscle weakness.

What if it’s the other way around?

The American Chiropractic Association stated that almost 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time, and sometimes it’s caused by improper footwear and flat feet. What does this mean?

Our foot is the end receiver of our body weight, thus the more weight we have, the bigger chance of having foot problems. If our feet don't absorb that shock or redistribute it properly, there is a possibility that problems elsewhere – and for some cases – low back pain.

However, doctors advise patients to improve their foot function by proper footwear and orthotic insoles to reduce the knee and hip pain.

Bad Habits that Causes Low Back Pain

  • Overeating. Remind yourself to choose food that your body needs from whole grains, fruits, and vegies. Eating unhealthy foods can lead to inflammation and leave out nutrients you need to be strong. It is also recommended to get nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, too.
  • Slouching. It’s been a very habit for most people who work on their desk for more than hours – no stretching and whatsoever. Prolonged slouching and sitting aren’t only dangerous for your spine, but to your overall health too.
  • Sleeping on your back. Try putting a rolled tower under your knees to keep the natural curve of your back. For slide sleepers, tuck a pillow between your legs to take pressure off your hips and lower back. It would also help if you can try different pillow heights for your neck.
  • Smoking. You’re probably raised your brows on this one but yes, smoking does curb blood flow, including to your spine. Smoking causes the cushioning disks between your bones break down quicker, and can also slow the healing process especially if you have osteoporosis. Quit smoking now to prevent low back pain.
  • Skipping exercises. This is one of the reasons why your muscles stay dormant. Remain active even during these uncertain times. Consult your doctor which exercises suits you and don’t forget to stretching before working out.
  • Not having an ergonomic workstation. Now that most people are required to work from home, ask your chiropractor if your current workstation is ergonomically correct, and wouldn’t cause you any neck strain and low back pain. Try investing in height adjustable desk to ensure your posture while keeping you productive at work.

It’s never too late to prioritize your health. All it takes is discipline and breaking bad habits. Even wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes makes a difference. Visit your doctor before doing anything that could make the situation worse.