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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How does foot pronation cause low back pain?

Gary can you list the chain of muscles from the foot up to the low back, that are involved in low back pain caused from foot pronation?
Gary responds:
Healthy feet pronate during foot impact.  I assume you are referring to weak or flat feet that pronate permanently or excessively during foot strike?
The link with back pain is not so much to do with any muscle chain but the loss of natural shock absorption by the arch of the foot.  The shock wave of foot impact is consequently not dampened as much as it would in a healthy foot.  What this means is a stronger than usual shock wave is consequently transmitted via the bones and the muscles further up the legs and even into the low back.  The same effect occurs when running with restrictive orthotics.  You can tell if an athlete is wearing these by the clumping sound and flat-footed running style.

The other factor is feet that are excessively pronated can cause tibial torsion.  The knees twist inwards as do the thighs.  The pelvis consequently tips forwards, increasing the lumbar lordosis.  If you go to my E-Book on Pronating feet, you will see a couple of photos that demonstrate the marked influence of foot posture on lumbar lordosis.

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