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Back pain

Back pain affects millions of Americans and for many it starts from the ground up. Ignoring how feet affect the lower back can sometimes mean missing the source of back pain. When walking, the body must adjust to many forces which affect both the feet and the spine.

When your foot hits the ground, your whole body feels the effect. Imagine in your car if your shock absorbers were worn out. You would feel every bump and jolt from the road. Your feet and legs are much the same way. The greater the impact of your step, the more impact it has on your body. When you run, your lower extremities absorb two to five times your body weight. This increased stress on your body can result in lower back pain.

Poor mechanics of movement in your feet and weakness in your legs can also cause back pain.sample

As you walk, and your foot hits the ground, your heel swings from side to side. When moving properly, the foot is supposed to flatten and regain its arch during walking.

If the heel is swinging too much, because of loose ligaments, the foot may flatten more than it should.

In addition, if you have very stiff muscles and joints in the feet and lower leg, this can have the same result. If this happens, some of the joints further up the leg and even into your back are forced to support too much weight.

The muscles then pull harder on these areas, making it more difficult for the tendons and ligaments to hold the bones and joints in place.

This causes abnormal strain and results in inflammation and pain in these areas.

It is important to consider the feet when determining the source of back pain. Fortunately, many of these problems can be improved by controlling foot and leg movement through proper physical therapy strengthening exercises.


Sports + Orthopedic Leaders has PT clinics located in Oakland, Walnut Creek (SOL PT) & Santa Cruz (SOL Santa Cruz), CA as well as a performance training center on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland (SOL Performance Training).  SOL is the #1 choice for physical therapy and sports performance training within the East Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and beyond, SOL Physical Therapy’s award winning clinical team has helped thousands of people reach their physical goals.  Services provided include: Sports + Orthopedic Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques®, Manual Therapy Techniques and Massage, Group TRX Suspension Training Classes, Pilates & Personal and Peak Performance Training.

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