Are My Shoes Causing My Back Pain?

Are My Shoes Causing My Back Pain?

A lot of different lifestyle factors can contribute to back pain. However, there are so many factors that it can be difficult to pin point the exact reason. The reason for your back pain can be something obvious or something not so obvious. Let’s take the shoes that you wear. Believe it or not, shoes impact your spinal health more than you may think. In this week’s blog we are going to discuss the affects that your shoe choice can have on your back and overall spinal health.

When assessing if your shoes are the cause of your back pain, you must first look at your feet. You need to look at the anatomy of your foot, do you have high arches, low arches, are your feet turned more inwards or outwards, etc. The positioning of your feet impacts how your joints are lined up in the rest of the body, specifically in the lower back. Therefore, if your feet are receiving the wrong type of support from your shoes, then the joints in the rest of your body are going to be impacted. This is why a proper assessment of your feet can help to gather a better idea of whether or not your shoes are the culprit. Once you figure out more about your anatomy, you need to look at your shoe choice. Some shoes are better than others, while others are so bad you really shouldn’t wear them—ever.

Here is a bit of a break down of each type of shoe and their impact on the spine:

  • High heels: High heels are either worn on special occasions or maybe even daily to work. But the thing about heels, depending on their height, they are the worst type of shoe for your back. The higher the heel and the thinner the heel will lead to an increase pressure on the spine. This over time will cause significant back pain, not to mention the risk of injuring your ankle. If heels are required for your job or you prefer them over other shoes, just consider starting to lower the height of them. Even that small change can help improve back health.
  • Flip flops: Flip flops are shoes that are the most common choice, especially in the summer or warmer weather days. However, these shoes should not be your “go to” everyday shoe due to the fact that they lack the proper support. If you truly look at your flip flops, you will see that they are thin and flat. They give little to no support for the feet and therefore impact the joints in your back. If you want to wear flips, opt for a sandal that has arch support and cushioning.
  • Barefoot: Walking barefoot is not uncommon in the warmer weather months. But it can lead to a lot of issues with spinal health in the long run. This is because it causes an unusual motion of lengthening and shortening on the leg muscles, which radiates and affects the spine and pelvis as well. It can also end up causing addition pain in the feet, ankles, knees, and even hips. So while you may be considering going barefoot this summer, think about not only protecting your spinal health but your feet too.
  • Dress shoes: These shoes commonly have some sort of heel to them as well, so these too can lead to additional back pain. However, it is understandable that these shoes may be a requirement for your career. If that is the case than it is all about modification and finding the best case scenario. Look for a shoe with adequate arch support and a low heel.
  • Wedges: These shoes, much like heels, are very unstable when it comes to support. If you have ever walked in wedges before then you know that it is so easy to roll your ankle and injury yourself. The safest bet when it comes to wedges is to just not wear them, or find ones with a lower heel or ankle support. Not only do you run the risk of injuring your back, but your ankles are also a factor here too.
  • Sneakers: Sneakers can be a good choice when it comes to spinal health. However, this all depends on the type of support that they have in addition to your anatomy. Finding a sneaker with the proper cushioning and arch support can be the easiest out of all the shoes so sneakers can be the best option when providing spinal support out of all the shoe choices discussed here.

In conclusion, when you are looking for the right shoe that supports the health of your spine you want to look for something that provides adequate support for your foot. This type of support is specific to each person due to the fact that everybody is different. Therefore, visiting your health care provider can help you to narrow down the proper choice for your shoe preference based on your body. Switching your shoe choice can make all the difference in your back and spinal health, even if you start with small changes. These small changes add up and make a big difference.

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