Are Spine Problems Causing Your Foot Pain?

Foot pain can be very difficult to manage, as most of us spend a significant time on our feet each day. From ill-fitting shoes and injuries to conditions like tendonitis and bursitis, foot pain can cause significant discomfort and disruption of our daily lives.
In most cases, our feet are indeed the sources of our foot pain. However, sometimes foot pain can be caused by problems in the spine. Usually, leg pain or numbness will accompany foot pain that originates in the spine. Other signs that your foot pain may point to a back problem include difficulty bringing your foot up or walking on your tip-toes, or experiencing foot heaviness or weakness.
There are certain spine dysfunctions that are known to be associated with foot pain. In fact, any dysfunction in the spine that pinches your spinal nerves in your lower back as a result of a narrowing in your spinal canal (spinal stenosis) may cause leg pain that extends into your feet. The dysfunctions that meet this criteria include:
  • Herniated discs 
  • Spondylolisthesis 
  • Ligamentum flavum (a strong ligament that connects the liminae of the vertebrae) buckling 
  • Enlargement of the facet joints caused by facet joint arthritis 
The type of pain you experience will depend on where in the spine the dysfunction is occurring. For example, a dysfunction in the L3-L4 segment of the spine may result in pain in the front of the thigh, the front of the knee, the shine, and/or the foot.
If you suspect that your foot pain may be caused by a spine problem, ask your spine specialist to give you a thorough evaluation of your spine. Fortunately, there are many non-surgical treatments that can treat the underlying cause of your foot pain and help you to stand and walk pain-free again.