How Your Flat Fleet Can Impact Knee, Back, and Hip Pain

Ironically, flat feet, which is when the arch of your foot hits the ground, doesn’t usually cause foot pain. But it may be the reason you have back, hip, or knee pain. 

So, before you have an exhaustive workup to see why you’re having aches and pains from your knees up, you may want to schedule a consultation with our nationally recognized foot and ankle specialist, Michael Gentile, DPM, FACFAS, here at Portland Foot and Ankle Institute in Portland, Oregon. Without the support of your foot arch, your flat feet may be putting too much stress on your other joints.

What happened to my arch?

The arch of your foot is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons. Its purpose is to assist in the proper distribution of your weight and act as a shock-absorber for each step you take. 

You’re born with an undeveloped arch and sometime during childhood, the bones, ligaments, and tendons that make up your arch are formed to create the distinctive foot curve. However, not all children develop their arch due to structural issues within the foot, such as baby fat in between the bones and/or loose joint connections, resulting in flat feet.

But an undeveloped foot arch isn’t the only cause of flat feet. Your arch can also fall due to a weakening of your tendons over time. Carrying excess body weight or a foot injury may also lead to the foot condition. You may also be at greater risk of developing flat feet if you have a history of diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. 

Flat feet and your back, hip, or knee pain

When it comes to carrying your body weight, your feet take the brunt of the force. With every step you take, your feet endure about five times your body weight. For comparison, your knees endure one-and-a-half to three times your weight, depending on the type of terrain you’re walking on. 

As previously noted, the purpose of your arch is to help with weight distribution and absorb some of the shock placed on your body when you take a step. If your feet aren’t able to handle the full load or absorb the shock due to your flat feet, then the load and shock is redistributed to your other body parts, including your knees, hips, or back. 

Your flat feet may also be responsible for other aches, pains, and injuries as well. Normally, when you take a step your feet roll inward slightly; this is referred to as pronation. However, if you have flat feet, your step may be hyperpronated, which places extra stress on your leg muscles and tendons. The lack of support may lead to shin splints or tendonitis.

Fixing your flat feet to reduce back, hip, and knee pain

The good news is, surgery isn’t usually necessary for the treatment of flat feet. We may be able to improve foot support, and reduce your back, hip, or knee pain, with customized shoe orthotics. With our 3-D imaging, we can create orthotics that fit your feet perfectly and provide the support needed for better weight distribution and pain relief.

We can also make recommendations for the types of shoes you can wear to improve your flat feet and reduce your pain. You may also benefit from a visit with the physical therapist, who can provide you with a stretching and exercise program that improves your gait and posture.

Flat feet may be common, but it’s not how your body was designed. To get proper care for your flat feet for better health and pain relief, contact Portland Foot and Ankle Institute by phone or online today. 

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