Are Your Shoes Causing Your Low Back Pain?
So you may not have ever thought about this. But now, maybe you’re wondering, could the shoes you wear on your feet be causing your low back pain? About 80 percent of people have back pain at some point in their lives, and half of all workers experience back pain symptoms each year, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Sometimes the reason for back pain is more obvious, like an injury. However, sometimes, it is a trigger that may be surprising like your footwear.
So, maybe the culprit is your shoes. Inappropriate footwear can cause you to experience pain in your low back. In this post, you’ll discover the connections that are made between your feet and your back (and the rest of your body- you are one kinetic chain!), so you can get rid of that pesky back pain and get back to your favorite activities.
If you haven’t read our guide with 3 Simple Steps to Eliminate Low Back Pain, be sure to read that. You can download our free guide here. We share essential footwear tips in the guide as well as other common causes of low back pain and how to get rid of it.
The Physical Connection
So let’s start by understanding the physical connection between your feet and your back, specifically your low back. Think of your feet as the foundation of your body. You want to ensure a strong foundation to support your entire body, including your spine. This foundation affects everything from your posture to your gait, or how you carry yourself. If you wear inappropriate footwear, your feet will be affected, thus creating longterm consequences for your body.
You don’t want to wear shoes like high heels, or completely flat shoes as both will cause low back pain. You need some arch support or cushion to support your feet and back. This will also help you to create an aligned body, resulting in proper posture.
How Do You Know if Your Shoes are Causing Your Low Back Pain?
Here are some common symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Achy back after wearing high heels, even for a short duration.
- Flat feet happens when the arch of your foot collapses.
- Hyper-pronation occurs when your ankle rolls inward as your walking. This condition is more prevalent.
- Hyper-supination happens when your ankle rolls outward as your walking.
- Heel pain (plantar fasciitis)- Read more about this in our blog post all about Plantar Fasciitis.
Shoes to Avoid
- High-heels- Only wear heels if and when it’s necessary. If you are required to wear them for work, try to switch shoes, so you aren’t wearing them for prolonged periods. This also includes boots for men and women. The heel may be higher than you think.
- Flat shoes with no arch support are not healthy, either. You do need some level of arch support to avoid flat feet and promote good posture.
- Flip flops rarely offer the proper arch support or cushion. They also cause your toe joints to grab onto the shoe, causing joint overcompensation and hammer-toes.
Tips for Shoe Shopping
- Buy inserts that provide more cushion, like orthotic inserts. Shoes with excellent support and cushion offer less impact when your body weight is put on your feet as you walk. It also helps to adjust your leg and foot rotation as you walk.
- Make sure you are wearing the proper size shoe. You don’t want a shoe too tight, or too big. Go to a shoe store that can use a Brannock device to fit your foot for the correct size shoe properly. It may surprise you, but your feet may be two different sizes!
- Find shoes that support your gait. When you visit a shoe store, they will watch you walk to determine the type of footwear you need based on your natural walk. Sometimes they will even film you so you can watch it yourself. This helps to ensure you are buying the right type of shoe to support your back and posture.
Other Footwear Tips
- Don’t suddenly switch between flat shoes and high heels, or vice versa. Your body learns to adapt to the type of shoes you are wearing, often compensating with increase muscle use in a given area. If you switch from high heels to flats, you will likely experience pain in your legs from the muscles not being elongated like they were when you wore heels.
- Replace your shoes once the supporting cushion is worn down inside. At that point, it is time to reward yourself with new shoes.
We hope these footwear tips helped you and will alleviate your back pain for good!
Let us know if this helped you by commenting below! You can find more tips in our free guide with 3 Simple Steps to Eliminate Low Back Pain!