If you're like many Americans, you begin experiencing more aches and pains as you grow older -- especially aches in your lower back and pain or stiffness in your joints after a long day on your feet. However, in some cases these pains can become debilitating, interfering with your ability to climb stairs, enjoy physical activities with your family, or even perform the basic duties of your job. What should you do about increasing levels of joint pain that seem to be caused by walking? Do you have any options that won't require you to undergo surgery or take daily medication? Read on to learn more about how undiagnosed issues with your feet could potentially affect your knees, hips, lower back, and other joints, as well as some simple steps you can take to combat chronic joint pain. 

How can your feet impact your other joints?

Those who have recently spent some time walking around on an unforgiving surface like concrete, tile, or marble may remember how achy and sore your joints felt for the next few days. While you may spend most of your time on softer surfaces, even the limited exposure of walking across a concrete parking lot or up a set of metal stairs could be enough to send your litany of aches and pains into overdrive if your feet are improperly cushioned against impact. If your shoes are thin or your stride is such that the wrong parts of your foot are the first to strike the ground, this impact can send shock waves through your joints and up into your spine, compressing delicate joint tissue and causing inflammation.

In addition to this relatively common wear and tear on joints, other foot-related ailments could have even more of an impact. If you have Morton's neuroma or tarsal tunnel syndrome, both of which can cause pain and numbness in certain parts of your foot, you could find yourself unconsciously shifting weight away from these painful areas while walking or standing. Doing this habitually can lead to disc problems in your lower back, a pinched nerve, or even osteoarthritis. It's important to have these conditions treated promptly, before any subconscious change in the way you carry yourself can begin to set you up for long-term problems.  

What can you do to treat your chronic joint pain without surgery or medication?

Fortunately, there are several things you can do that should simultaneously improve foot comfort while alleviating any joint pain you may be experiencing. As a bonus, these treatments can also help prevent joint degeneration.

Chiropractic treatment

In many cases, a quick chiropractic adjustment can be what you need to get your spine into proper alignment and improve the level of impact on your joints. By manipulating your spine, pelvis, and even knees into their ideal positions relative to the rest of your musculoskeletal system, a chiropractor can help minimize any wear and tear on your joints caused by daily living. You'll likely find that your pain levels improve after your initial visit, but that occasional follow-up adjustments may be necessary after periods of excess strain on your joints. 

Custom orthotics

These devices are custom-fitted to improve the way your feet hit the ground, minimizing the impact each step can have on your knees, hips, and spine. While a simple and easy fix, in many cases these orthotics can help you feel like you've rolled back the clock a decade or more. If you're suffering from a case of Morton's neuroma that isn't yet serious enough for surgery, orthotics can also reduce the amount of pain or sensitivity you're feeling while slowing any additional damage to the delicate nerves in your foot.

Visit a site like http://www.yourfootdocs.com to learn more about foot health and how a podiatrist can help you manage foot and ankle pain.