Have Knee, Hip, or Back Pain? Your Feet Might Be to Blame!

Jan 21, 2020

You might not regularly think of your body as a structure, but it is. A mobile, organic structure with a great many interconnected moving parts!

When all the parts of our body are as they should be, these great organic machines of ours are able to go through the day with very little effort or trouble. If you’re not thinking about how your body is moving, that likely means everything is doing its job perfectly.

But when you are experiencing pain, every step you take starts to become thought out and calculated. You feel every move you make, because it triggers pain in your feet, legs, back, knees, or hips.

And while your focus may be on those areas in pain, the root of the problem might mostly be on the bottom floor, so to speak.

Have Knee, Hip, or Back Pain?

Your Foundation and Its Connections

Your feet and ankles are the foundation of your body. Whenever you walk, run, or even stand, you are able to do so because your feet are distributing the weight of your body in a stable manner.

While a house doesn’t move, its foundation also supports its structure. But if that foundation becomes unstable or falls out of alignment, you know how it can affect the home above it (and hopefully never had to experience that yourself!).

Structural abnormalities can have similar effects on your body. While you can certainly develop foot pain or heel pain from conditions such as flat feet or high arches, the effects can run up your musculoskeletal structure.

Let’s start at the bottom. Your feet are tasked with supporting and properly distributing your weight, and that can be quite a lot! For every pound you weight, about 4 pounds of force need to be handled by your feet whenever you move. And that’s every step.

A problem with your foot structure can change the distribution of weight across the foot, and can lead to a higher concentration of stress in areas that aren’t built to handle it. This increases the risk of painful foot problems such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.

But that is not always all. A deformity in your foot structure can also change the way you walk, also known as your biomechanics.

For some people, an abnormal foot structure can lead to an abnormal gait. One common instance is overpronation, in which the foot rolls too far inward with each step.

But our feet are not independent pieces of our bodies. They’re connected to our ankles, which are connected to our legs, our knees, our hips, and all destinations upward.

When our feet move in an abnormal way, it often causes other parts of the body to shift as well in order to compensate. In the case of overpronation, the legs themselves can begin to rotate inward. Our legs and knees also tend to work overtime to keep us more stable while running. In most cases you won’t even realize it’s happening, but all these changes place extra strain throughout the body, which can add to fatigue and once again lead to pain.

Just keep moving up the chain with abnormal stances and overcompensation, and it’s no surprise that you can end up with backaches, too!

But in many cases where all these problems can be traced back to the feet, addressing the problem there can also rest the alignment further up the musculoskeletal system.

fitness woman runner feel pain on knee. Outdoor exercise activities concept

Restoring Your Structure with Custom Orthotics

Depending on the conditions at play, we may recommend one of several different approaches to treating your problem. In many of these cases, custom orthotics will be a likely candidate for addressing structural problems in the feet.

A pair of custom orthotic inserts will provide exact amounts of cushioning and corrective support where needed in the feet. They can help offload excess stress from needed areas as well as put a stop to overpronation and other abnormal gait patterns.

Setting the feet back to proper weight distribution and biomechanics will likely have positive effects in areas above as well. Stiffness, pain, and fatigue can significant lessen or even vanish entirely!

In some cases, we may recommend other treatments in addition to or instead of custom orthotics. These might include:

  • Stretches or exercises to condition supporting elements of your body. This can not only help endurance, but reduce the strain of tight muscles and tendons on other areas.
  • Changes in footwear, physical activity routines, and/or work environment to reduce stress and overuse.
  • Advanced treatments such as laser therapy to accelerate recovery of soft tissue injuries.

We will be happy to fully discuss all your options for a comprehensive recovery plan. Our main goal is always to use conservative methods whenever they would be effective.

Fix Your Foot Pain (and Maybe More)

No two patients are the same. The causes of pain for one may be different than another, so we can’t guarantee that back pain and foot pain are always connected.

What we can guarantee, however, is that we will always perform a thorough evaluation and consider all the needs of each patient, including how their symptoms are affecting their daily lives. That way, we can recommend the best courses of treatment to meet each patient’s individual needs.

Call our Greater Dayton office at (937) 435-7477 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sunshein. If you prefer to contact us electronically, you can always fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will respond to you during standard office hours.


6474 Centerville Business Pkwy, Centerville, OH 45459


Monday: 8am - 5pm
Tuesday: 8am - 5pm
Wednesday: 8am - 5pm
Thursday: 8am - 5pm
Friday: 8am - 2pm

Contact Us

© Sunshein Podiatry Associates. All Rights Reserved.
Web Design by CP SolutionsMarketed by VMD Services.
Privacy Policy