Women with flat feet are 50 % more likely to have low back pain, a new study suggests, Newsmax Health reports.
"The key takeaway from the study is that if women have low back pain, it may not be just the back," said senior author Marian Hannan of the Institute for Aging Research in Boston. "It turns out that feet are important for the back."
For their study, Hannan and her colleagues measured each person's arch in the standing position. Then participants walked across a mat with embedded sensors to measure pressure from the heel to the tip of the foot while walking.
Women in the study were in their 60s, on average. About 38 percent overall reported having low back pain.
"We've known that putting a patient in a foot cast after surgery, for example, can lead to lower back pain because this creates asymmetric forces on the back," said Dr. Stephen Pinney, an orthopedic surgeon at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, who didn't participate in the new research.
Hannan said the body may use other muscles to help make up for flat feet when a person walks, which could explain the link to back pain.
She and her team suggested reasons why women could be more affected by flat feet while walking than men.
For example, women's pelvic bones are wider and not as flexible as men's. In general, women rotate their hips more than men while walking. Women also move their upper bodies more than men when they walk.
She suggested people with low back pain visit a doctor or physical therapist.