For such small appendages, your feet carry an enormous amount of responsibility when it comes to your support, mobility, and balance. To do their job right, there’s very little room for error, which means that even the smallest problem can have a widespread impact. Such can often be the case with a seemingly benign condition — flat feet.
Here at Hunter Foot & Ankle Associates, our goal is to help our patients in Plano, Texas, make their way through the world with the least amount of problems. By their very geography, your feet are ground zero, providing the critical foundation for the rest of your musculoskeletal structure.
Unfortunately, when something doesn’t present itself according to design in your feet, you’re left grappling with problems that can travel up through your major joints, including your ankles, knees, and hips, even reaching your back.
Here’s a look at why flat feet may be behind your back, hip, and knee pain, and what we can do about it.
Flat feet 101
The term flat feet means that you lack arch support in your feet. When you’re born, your feet are flat and your arches develop as you grow. In some cases, these arches never take shape, leaving you with flat feet.
On the other end of the age spectrum, flat feet can develop as you get older. After years of wear-and-tear, the tendons that support your feet can begin to weaken, causing your arches to fall.
For many people, flat feet don’t pose any serious problems, and people learn to work around the issue as their bodies compensate for the absence of arch support. For others, however, flat feet lead to painful problems in their feet and ankles, which can have an effect on distant joints and their backs.
Your thighbone is connected to your hip bone
If you’re familiar with that childhood song about the parts of the body and how they’re connected, we have to admit that this cute little diddy speaks the truth quite plainly. Your musculoskeletal system is a fully integrated structure, and each section is connected by joints, sometimes very small ones, and sometimes rather large ones, like your hips and knees.
Since joints are where bones come together, any bone that comes in at an angle can offset the entire function of the joint. And this is exactly what flat feet can do. When you don’t have arch support, your feet tend to roll inward, causing overpronation. When your feet roll in, it affects your gait and places excessive stress on your ankles and knees.
Now think about the directions your joints move — your ankles can roll in many directions, but your knees are made to bend forward and back, not side-to-side. When you overpronate, your knees are forced in a direction they’re not designed for.
As your knees are forced together because of flat feet, the impact may travel on up to your hips, which need to compensate for the poor positioning of your knees.
And on it goes until it reaches your low back. Poor positioning of the major joints in your lower body ultimately reach your back and may cause dull, nagging pain. And it all started with flat feet.
If you’re experiencing pain in your knees, hips, and back, and you have flat feet, we need to take a good, hard look to see if the two problems are related. If we find that your flat feet are the likely cause behind your joint pain, we can take action with custom orthotics, which make up for the loss of arch support by providing an outside source.
Through orthotics, we can raise up your arches, causing everything in your lower body to line up more accurately.
To learn more about the effect that flat feet can have on your knees, hips, and back, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or use the online booking tool on this website to set up an appointment.