Expert Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, and Orthotics Services for Optimal Health

Is Poor Foot Health Causing You Back Pain?

poor foot health and back pain

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 01-Oct-2021

We put our feet through a lot every day, and yet most Canadians don’t make foot health a top health priority. Walking, running and exercising can put a high level of stress on your feet and ankles. Patients who don’t practice proper foot care set themselves up for more extensive issues down the road. In fact, most people are surprised to learn that problems with your feet can lead to back pain and discomfort, which can seriously affect your day-to-day activities and overall health and happiness.

We generally assume that back pain is due to something we have injured or tweaked somewhere in our back, but that isn’t always the case. Back pain can result from an array of problems related to other parts of our body, and poor foot health and maintenance can be a significant contributor to reoccurring back pain.

Common Ailments Related to Poor Foot Health

Unfortunately, poor foot health can lead to a variety of other ailments, so avoiding potential triggers is essential to keeping your feet healthy and pain-free. Some possible causes of foot pain and poor foot health include:

  • Bone spurs
  • A broken or sprained foot or toe
  • Bunions, corns or callouses
  • Hammertoe or claw toe
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Plantar warts
  • All types of arthritis
  • Gout
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Infected toenails
  • Diabetes (people with diabetes are more prone to suffer from poor foot health)

Potential Causes of Poor Foot Health

Because of all the work they do, your feet and ankles can become injured in various ways. Something as simple as stepping the wrong way on a curb or stubbing a toe can lead to severe pain, discomfort and potentially something worse. Here are a few causes of poor foot health that you should try and avoid if possible.


Being on your feet for extended parts of the day is common in many professions. Certain jobs and lifestyles require people to stand or walk for extended periods of time. Exercising is crucial to living a healthy life, but you can overdo it. Exercising at excessive levels can lead to painful conditions, such as plantar fasciitis. This common issue results from the inflammation of the plantar fascia – a thick band of connective tissue that covers the sole of your foot. The condition can be excruciatingly painful and, if not dealt with quickly, can lead to chronic heel pain which negatively impacts how you walk, and which can cause back pain and negatively alter how you live and enjoy regular activities. 

Ill-fitting Footwear and High Heels

Whatever style of shoe you wear must fit you just right to help avoid any of the issues mentioned above. Wearing ill-fitting shoes is the main culprit for the pain many people feel in their feet, and they might not even be aware of it. When we think of shoes that cause problems, high heels are typically near the top of the list, as they should be. But it could be your running shoes, work boots or everyday shoes that are causing you grief. No matter the footwear, ensure it has the proper arch support, cushion and is not too tight.

Flat feet or high arches

Although having flat feet or high arches are different issues, they can cause the same adverse effects on your feet. These conditions can result from genetics, various medical conditions, lifestyle or a previous foot or ankle surgery. No matter the cause, flat feet and high arches can cause severe pain and discomfort and should be treated immediately before allowing the problem to worsen and eventually affect your posture and gait.

Obesity or Lethargic Lifestyle

Our feet and ankles are the foundation of our bodies, and as with a home that may not have been taken care of over the years, cracks can appear in the foundation. Living a lifestyle that involves a lack of movement can seriously affect your feet. The more weight you put on your feet, the harder they must work and the more likely it is that you will develop any of the abovementioned conditions.

How Poor Foot Health Can Cause You Back Pain

Our bodies are incredibly designed. Everything flows together perfectly when in alignment and healthy, but when something is off, serious problems can occur. The slightest issue at the base of your body can have a ripple effect that runs throughout the body. A sore foot can lead you to have to put more weight on your other foot. Your knees and hips will then have to adjust to this new movement. Your back follows suit, and so do your shoulders and neck. Since your body wants to work in unison, the slightest issue at the base can have ramifications that spread throughout your body, and unfortunately, your back tends to get the brunt of the misalignment.

Two examples of foot issues leading to back pain are overpronation and oversupination. Overpronation is when you land on the inside of your foot instead of landing flat. This causes the foot to bend inwards slightly. Oversupination is the opposite of this, where you land on the outside of your feet. Both result in pressure being put onto the wrong parts of your feet, which can heavily throw off your body’s alignment. In turn, this can lead to severe and reoccurring back pain.

Tips to Improve Your Overall Foot Health

Proper foot health is important in avoiding and treating back pain. Here are a few suggestions on how you can practice good foot health:

  • Inspect your feet daily for any abnormalities
  • Wear shoes or boots that offer ample support
  • Regularly wash your feet in warm water
  • Soak your feet in warm water after long periods of standing or walking
  • Exfoliate, scrub and massage your feet on a regular basis
  • Keep your toenails short and watch for nails going into the side of your toes
  • Be careful when walking barefoot
  • Replace your shoes when they start to break down or don’t offer the same support they used to
  • If you have custom orthotics, wear them consistently and replace them every 1-2 years

Physiomed Is Here to Help

Whether you’re experiencing back pain related to a foot condition or any other reason, Physiomed can help. Contact us today to discuss your back pain, and remember to make foot health a part of your healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

Top Blogs

Jun 15

Upper Back and Neck Pain: Causes and Solutions...

Key Highlights: Upper back and neck pain can be caused…

Read More
Jun 01

Slim Down: How to Lose Belly Fat Naturally...

Key Highlights: Many people want to lose belly fat for…

Read More
May 15

Restoring Balance with Vestibular Physical Therapy...

Key Highlights: Vestibular physical therapy, or physiotherapy, is a specialized…

Read More
May 01

Tennis Elbow: Top Exercises for Relief & Recove...

Key Highlights: Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition…

Read More
Apr 15

10 Must-Try Exercises for Backache Pain Relief...

Key Highlights: Backache pain is a common issue that can…

Read More
Apr 01

Neck Pain: Causes, Symptoms & Solutions...

Key Highlights: Neck pain can be caused by various factors…

Read More

Ready to Get Started?

Book Your

Get Healthier... Stay Healthier!