Can Your Headaches Be Caused By Your Flat Feet?

Your feet are your foundation...Your base of support. When your base of support isn't stable, it causes an effect to your posture. This instability can directly affect your ankles, knees, hips, and back. According to an article published in the Daily Mail this week, flat feet can account for regular, severe headaches.  Even migraines!

In fact, expert say that as much as 25% of migraine headaches are caused by issues with posture.  The weakness in the feet causes the muscles in the lower limbs to contract for longer periods of time.  The signals from the overloaded muscles can overwhelm the brain.  This causes the blood vessels within the brain to become inflamed and sufferers are left with a pounding pain from it.

In my Houston, TX podiatry practice, I see this quite often.  People are referred every day with back pain, hip pain, knee pain, and, yes, even headaches that have no other causes than postural issues.  What I look for in these patients are how their feet are managing pressures.  By taking a weight-bearing x-ray, one taken while standing, I am able to look at the bone structure and how the foot manages while bearing weight.  By watching you walk, I'm looking for the height of the arch, the angle the foot bears weight in, and how the heel rolls with each step.

While there is surgery that can correct a severely flat foot, I recommend it rarely because of the very long recovery.  A more conservative approach involves making a custom orthotic.  An orthotic is a custom insole with addresses the cause of the instability.  When properly made with a comprehensive biomechanical exam, an orthotic provides stability and efficiency to the feet and legs.  This will cause the muscles that are working overtime to be able to calm down to a more normal level.  This would quickly solve any postural conditions that created those painful headaches.

If you're ever told that "nothing is wrong" when you're suffering with pain, ask your doctor to watch you walk.  Relief may be just a referral to a podiatrist away.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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