Is My Foot Pain Causing My Migraine and Headaches?

From flat feet to other health issues, what might hurt at the head, may not be starting there. This latest post will detail how foot health and foot pain may contribute to headaches or frequent migraines.

It’s often surprising to patients when they find out that the pain they experience in their heads can come from their feet. Our feet’ health is directly related to other parts of our bodies, like our spine, hip and back.

Each step that we take during the day loads our body weight onto our feet. If an individual starts to have issues with their feet, they are most likely taking steps that are misaligned, which will then cause a domino effect with the rest of the body.

The Link Between Migraine and Flat Feet

Flat feet, also known as pes planus or fallen arches, can cause damage to tendons as they stretch and strain, throwing your feet out of alignment. This misalignment can cause other foot issues, such as plantar fasciitis, posterior trivial tendon dysfunction (PTTD), torn tendons, or ankle injuries.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition where your ligament at the bottom of your foot, known as the plantar fascia, is too tight and starts to tear away from the heel bone or calcaneus. The condition causes swelling and pain, usually in the morning or after sitting down for a while and then getting up. Plantar fasciitis causes pain on the heel of your foot and the arch. Wearing arch support shoes with a cushioned sole can help alleviate the pain.

PTTD refers to a condition where the tendon inside the ankle swells and becomes weak and painful, especially in the arch area. The tendon is especially painful at the end of the day after walking.

There are varying degrees of flat feet, and not everyone with flat feet suffers from pain. There are three main characteristics of flat feet: the apparent feature is that the foot’s arch is very low or nonexistent. The heel will also roll inwards, while the top of the foot rolls outwards.

Not everyone has all three characteristics, and others might have just one or two. Flat footedness usually runs in the family and is an apparent condition from childhood.

Sometimes, individuals are born with relaxed ligaments, which cause the foot to roll inwards gradually. This allows a flat foot to develop over time.

Individuals with flat feet are likely to take steps that roll inward, causing their muscles to work harder and longer to keep the body stable. This sets off a chain reaction from the calves up the legs, abdomen and lower back.

As a result, flat-footed individuals will have poor posture and tight, overworked muscles, especially in the lower back. This pain can eventually make its way up to the neck’s base, where a headache or migraine will form.

Poor posture is linked to one in four severe headaches. Our feet are what ground our body, so when someone has flat feet, the entire body is likely to become out of whack. Intense posture-related headaches and migraines can be triggered by the brain when unable to process the signals it is being sent.

Signals from overworked muscles can tire and disorient the brain. When this occurs, the brain sends back signals that cause blood vessels to expand and become inflamed in the area, which causes a throbbing pain sensation.

Whatever the cause or condition, those who have just a slight degree of flat feet seem to be the most at risk of headaches. The reason being is that they are continuously loading their body weight on the wrong part of their foot, thus putting pressure on their tendons.

This tendon is responsible for supporting the foot, and if it becomes weakened, then the arch will flatten, and the heel will tilt inwards. As the tendon gets weaker, the individual is more likely to suffer from headaches and back or knee pain.

On the other hand, those born with flat feet just have a foot structure that stays the same and does not cause any further difficulties.

The Migraine and Foot Pain Connection

In many cases, doctors focus their attention on pain and where a patient feels it, rather than thinking about the whole body’s biomechanics, overlooking the feet as the pain’s origin.

Shoes help to cushion our feet during the week’s activities, but we often spend more time out of our shoes to give our feet rest on the weekend. Ironically enough, these are the times when we start to suffer from the most migraines or headaches. Without an artificial heel from wearing shoes, our feet have no support when walking over surfaces. This can cause existing foot pain symptoms, as well as headaches, to flare up.

How Can Orthotics Help You With Your Foot Pain?

Thankfully, a few different options for those who suffer from foot pain can choose from when they are looking for relief. These painful foot conditions can be treated by rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and orthotics.

In general, less than 1 percent of patients will need surgical intervention. Orthotics give extra cushioning on the inside of the foot and prevent the feet from rolling inwards, which improves the feet’ position.

Your doctor prescribes custom orthotics. First, they will create a cast or impression to make the perfect mould of your feet from which they make the orthotic. Orthotics work to redistribute the pressure on your feet’ soles, reducing the discomfort you were experiencing.

Orthotics are used in conjunction with other treatments to get optimal results. It’s essential to keep in mind that orthotics cannot be a universal solution for every type of foot pain, but they can be a big help.

If you are experiencing foot pain and severe headaches or migraines, you should speak with your doctor or podiatrist. They will prescribe custom orthotics to help you with your foot alignment and help take pressure off of your feet and joints.

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