If you have a constant ache in your lower back, you may only need to look down at your feet to see the cause. If you have flat feet, your legs and hips may be slightly out of alignment, putting stress on the lower back muscles. Here is how the little arch in your foot makes such a big difference in your body's alignment and what can be done to get rid of your back pain.

More Than Just a Shock Absorber

Muscles and tendons in your foot and lower leg work together to draw the bones in your foot into the cup-shaped arch. The arch flexes slightly, acting as a shock absorber each time you step down. Your foot also turns out slightly so your ankles, lower legs, knees and hips are aligned with each other to support your weight as you stand.

If the arch fails, your foot settles onto the floor and turns in. You lose the shock absorber so the force of each step now travels up your legs and into your lower back. The angle of your legs now changes your center of gravity, and your spine must compensate by moving slightly. This puts more pressure on your ankles, knees, hips and back and can result in pain in all of those areas.

Various Causes of Flat Feet

Some of the causes of flat feet are out of your control, but a few causes you can influence:

  • Family history - You have an increased risk if others in your ancestry have flat feet.
  • Foot injuries - Damage to the tendons and ligaments in your foot from an accident can cause them to fail to hold the arch in place.
  • Stretched tendons - Athletes may put so much stress on their feet that the tendons are stretched from overuse and can no longer support the arch.
  • Weight gain - If you gain weight, and the tendons in your feet aren't strengthened to hold the additional weight, your arch can fail.
  • Other diseases - Medical conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, can weaken the tendons and ligaments in your foot that hold the arch in place.

Treatment of Your Flat Feet

The first step is to visit a podiatrist who will evaluate the severity of your fallen arches and the possible causes. Your doctor will initially recommend one or more non-invasive approaches to correct the arch. The treatment options can include:

  • Physical therapy - Strengthening the muscles and tendons that hold the arch can give you back that shock absorber and proper alignment.
  • Orthotics - Special inserts for your shoes can create an artificial arch that supports your foot and leg alignment. You may use orthotics for the rest of your life to maintain this support.

When the non-invasive approaches fail to give you relief, there are surgical options to restore your arch, such as:

  • Bone fusion - By fusing bones together in your foot, the surgeon can create an arch to give you some support.
  • Tendon repositioning - By moving tendons to different positions on the bones, they become more effective at holding your arch in place.
  • Adding bone material - Bone grafts can be done to add bone tissue to your arch, strengthening it to hold your weight.

For more information, contact http://www.advancedfootclinic.org or a similar website.