A lot of patients who come to see us report that, over time, their foot pain has caused pain further up the body, most commonly in the knees, hips and lower back. Remember that if the foot is causing your problems further up the body, then it is the foot that you need to treat.

One of the most common causes for foot-related problems in the knees, hips and/or lower back is compensation. When your foot is painful, you are likely to change the way you walk to try to avoid the pain. This compensation causes changes to occur in the knees, hips and lower back, which can, over time, lead to pain and other issues.

By treating the feet and resolving your foot pain, you can decrease the likelihood of problems occurring in your knees, hips and lower back. It is, however, a good idea to look after the areas above the feet as well.

The following three exercises are a great way for you to help your knee, hip and / or lower back while you sort your feet out.

  1. Knee Strengthening

This exercise looks at strengthening part of your quadriceps muscles. Strengthening the muscles around the knee can help to decrease pain and other symptoms in the knee.

  • Start with your feet a comfortable distance apart and take a small step forward with one foot.
  • Now bend your knee so your knee cap goes over your second toe.
  • Once you can’t see your second toe anymore, push your body weight into the heel of the front foot.
  • Hold for 3 seconds; do 10 repetitions, twice a day to each foot.


  1. Gluteal Bridges

This exercise will help to strengthen your gluteal muscles, which can help to support the hip and therefore decrease pain and other symptoms.

  • Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your heels tucked up toward your bottom.
  • Lift your bottom up off the ground and push your groin as high as you can towards the ceiling.
  • Squeeze your gluteal muscles at the top and hold for 3 seconds.
  • Gently lower your bottom back to the ground in a controlled manner.
  • Hold for 3 seconds; do 10 repetitions, twice a day.


  1. The Plank

This is an easy beginner core strengthening exercise that can help to support the lower back, decreasing pain and symptoms in that area. Research has shown that increasing your core stability can help with pain in the lower limb, so this exercise will not only help with your lower back, but may also relieve your foot pain.

  • Start by lying on your stomach and then push up onto your toes and forearms.
  • Keeping your back straight, support your body weight on your toes and forearms. Your bottom shouldn’t be too high in the air and your groin shouldn’t be too close to the ground.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can up to 30 seconds and repeat for 3 repetitions twice a day. As you get stronger you can hold for longer and longer and do fewer repetitions.


The above exercises may help to reduce pain in your knees, hips and/or lower back that is caused by foot pain. If pain persists, you may need to see a healthcare professional.

If you have foot pain, whether it leads to pain in the knees, hips and/or lower back or not, come in for an assessment today. For our Manly Vale clinic call (02) 9907 0144, for our City clinic call (02) 8072 7278.