Back pain is a common condition that affects many people throughout their lifetime. It can stem from many different causes and can be soft tissue, neurological (nerves) or osseous (bone related) in nature.
Many patients visit podiatrists to help treat and improve their lower back and hip pain. This is because one of the major causes of lower back pain is incorrect positioning of the hips when walking, often due to poor alignment of the lower limb and incorrect foot biomechanics.
Causes of Lower Back and Hip Pain:
- Flat feet or excessive pronation (rolling inwards of the feet).
- Excessive supination (rolling out of the feet).
- Leg length difference (LLD).
- Asymmetrical alignment and movement of the feet.
All of the these can result in an altered position of the pelvis while walking and lead to increased curvature of the spine. This puts increased strain on the lower back muscles and ligaments.
Misalignment and abnormal biomechanics of the lower limb can also lead to a pelvis tilt which can lead to conditions such as scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
Treatment for Lower Back and Hip Pain:
- Orthotic therapy to correct foot biomechanics /alignment, stabilising the pelvis and aiding in normal positioning and function of the spine.
- Heel raises and footwear modifications to correct LLD.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed.
- Referral to other health professionals such as chiropractor, physio or osteopath for a multidisciplinary approach to your treatment if required.
Similarly to back pain, knee pain can also result from poor foot posture and misalignment. This can lead to long term overuse injuries on the knee or put you at higher risk of sustaining an acute injury that may result in tendon, ligament or cartilage damage of the knee joint.
For example; feet that excessively pronate (roll in), may result in the following detrimental effects on the knee joint:
- Increased internal rotation of the lower leg, against external rotation of the thigh whilst walking. This leads to increased twisting forces on the knee joint whilst it works to absorb shock through flexion and extension. Over time this can lead to overuse injuries and increased wear on the knee joint.
- Similarly, high arched feet prevent correct shock absorption properties through the feet. This results in the knee having to endure greater shock absorption, and may result in overuse injuries over time.
Causes of Knee Pain:
- Poor foot posture and abnormal lower limb biomechanics.
- Flat feet/ high arched feet.
- Inappropriate unsupported footwear.
- Inappropriate training surfaces/ regimes.
- Previous trauma without proper rehabilitation.
Treatment for Knee Pain:
- Foot orthoses to correct foot misalignment and function.
- RICER (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate and Refer) in acute injuries.
- Reviewing training programs and surfaces.
- Anti-inflammatory medication and gels temporarily if necessary.
- Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee.
- Strapping or bracing the knee during sport.
- Appropriate supportive footwear.
People usually present to a podiatrist with overuse type injuries. Well Heeled Podiatry can assess your foot alignment and knee/hip function to help in the treatment of your lower back, hip and knee pain and minimise the risk of acute trauma during physical activity.
- Foot Orthoses and Arch Support
- Aching Painful Feet
- Gait Analysis
- Dry Needling
- Foot Mobilisation Therapy
WARNING: This information should be used as a guide only and does not replace professional podiatry advice. The content is provided by Well Heeled Podiatry for educational purposes only and does not in any way replace the need for a face to face consultation with a Podiatrist in order to accurately diagnose and treat the condition. Treatment and outcomes will vary between patients depending on the nature of the presenting complaint and subsequent diagnosis of condition.