Feet are great for helping us get around and maintain stability, but they are often the last thing anyone thinks about until they are in pain. Foot pain is caused by many different possible problems, including the structure of the foot, bad arches, improper footwear, and old injuries.

While many doctors are prepared to discuss these common causes, a lesser-known culprit of foot pain may be found in your back. The body is all linked together, but maybe more so than you think.

From the Back Down

The back, or more specifically the spine, has a direct line to the feet. If you hurt your spine, you feel it in more than just your back. The classic example of back and feet correlated pain is when a disc slips out of place.

Having a herniated disc means the pad between the vertebrae are swollen or bulging, which puts pressure on the spinal nerve. Pinching the nerve will send pain all the way down your legs and into your feet. This can happen in almost any disc, not just those at the base of your spine.

The pain varies, depending on the severity and location of the spine injury. Sometimes it feels like a light throbbing through the sciatic nerve, which extends down your leg. It can lead to tingling toes, numbness, cramping, or swelling in the feet.

Many people experience sharp, stabbing pains that flash down the length of the entire leg and foot with certain movements. This is all traced back to the spine.

From the Feet Up

Just as spine issues can cause pain in your feet, problems with your feet can cause problems with your back. One of the most common cases is having flat feet. This can cause misalignment of your ankles and knee joints, influencing the way you walk and run. When everything is out of alignment, it can cause stress in your lower back specifically.

Hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and bunions can also change the way you move, trying to not experience pain, but it causes your body to compensate in ways that put strain on your back.

Occasionally, surgery is required to fix problems with feet, but usually, the solution is much simpler. Finding the right pair of shoes can make a big difference if you have foot problems. Having the proper support helps to keep everything properly aligned and less strained.

Recommended Treatment

Pain is the way your body lets you know that something is wrong, so never ignore it.  If you are experiencing pain in your feet or your back, it is important to treat the root of the problem rather than focusing on symptoms.

Having a doctor look at your spine and your feet when one or the other hurts helps to eliminate concern that the injury is somewhere else in the body. Once you have located the problem area, you can come up with a treatment plan to help heal the injury correctly. Talk to a podiatrist about possible causes for your foot pain and work on a treatment plan.