Most people wouldn’t even think that there’s any relation between feet and spinal health. The truth is that certain spinal conditions can affect your feet. In fact, they can have severe consequences on your spine and vice versa. You can understand more clearly this complicated relationship if you know the trajectory of the sciatic nerve. And how weight loads are distributed between your feet and spine, causing foot pain.
Spinal Conditions That Can Cause Foot Pain
The sciatic nerve is very long. It travels from your spine down to your feet and maybe the reason you are experiencing foot pain. Between one vertebral disc and the other, there is a space through which nerves leave and enter the spinal cord. These nerve roots are made of soft tissue that can be compressed by the vertebrae when there is a problem such as a disc degeneration or herniated discs. Since these nerves are in charge of gathering the sensations from your limbs, and a nerve compression disrupts their signals, your brain interprets that sensation as pain in the affected area: legs and feet.
When the spine is affected by conditions like osteoarthritis and/or spondyloarthritis, degeneration of the vertebrae is normal. Therefore, resulting in the same pain sensation. Additionally, another reason for foot pain is spinal curvature disorders. Lordosis and scoliosis are clear examples of that. In fact, they result from an abnormal posture, bone problems, or birth conditions. However, if the curvature problem is severe enough, it can lead to a similar compression of the spinal roots, sciatic pain, and foot pain.
Spinal Curvature Issues
Additionally, problems in the curvature of the spine can alter the weight-bearing areas of the body. The body regions that receive and balance our weight to keep us standing. The spine carries the weight of our whole body, including limbs and feet. When one of these components works deficiently or is affected, the other should double the load. Therefore, increasing the amount of pressure. Since they are not made to sustain such an extra burden, the articulations, bones, and soft tissue start suffering. And may result in pain in your lower limb, joints, and feet.
The reverse is also true. Physical conditions such as flat feet represent a change in the configuration of the foot. Instead of a natural curve, though, the foot arch is flat and forces the rest of the limb to lose a natural curve. In turn, this provides cushion and stability when we walk. Such a change in body configuration causes cramps, plantar fasciitis, and even pain in the lower back. Orthopedic shoes are often designed to correct the problems in the arch of the foot and to relieve pain.
How Do Spine & Foot Problems Correlate
In other words, the spine and the feet may be quite far from each other, but they share two essential features. These include how they carry nerve fibers and support the weight of the rest of the body. They are closely associated, and different health conditions affecting one of them may impair the functions. There is always an underlying cause such as disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, or flat feet. However, these should be thoroughly diagnosed by your physician.