January 28, 2014

The Importance of Shoes in Relation to Back Pain

There are plenty of different things out there which may end up leading to the development of back pain; your posture when sitting, your genetics, your line of work, and the shoes you wear. Though some of those things are harder to control than others, avoiding the wrong kinds of shoes will, in the end, only take you a few seconds and prevent you from hurting your back even further.

As a matter of fact, it is very possible that you are wearing harmful shoes right at this moment, and that foregoing them may save you a lot of time, money and effort on pills and potential surgeries. In any case, on with the show.

Flip Flops


Flip Flops for back pain

Though they may seem like the ultimate invention in terms of footwear comfort, nothing could be further from the truth. Whenever you take a step, you must sink your toes into the flip flop to prevent it from falling off.

As a result, you compromise your foot’s ability to move forward, which must then be overcompensated for with the hips and lower back. Avoid flip flops like the plague, for wearing them often leads to lower back pain in virtually everyone’s case.

High Heels


High Heels and back pain

Chances are you were already expecting to see high heels listed, and to be frank, it’s not for nothing. Though they may provide a little boost to your appearance, high heels have the effect of pushing your spine upwards, causing you to arch your back and bend your knees for compensation… not to mention all the stress your knees will suffer.

Also, it should be mentioned that this also applies to men and their dress and cowboy shoes; the back is affected by them in the exact same manner.

Toning Shoes


Toning shoes and back pain

Though all of the hype around them may tell you otherwise, toning shoes are some of the worst things that can happen to your back. The curbed bottom is supposed to help you burn extra fat while walking, something corporate-sponsored studies seem to claim (these types of studies are generally extremely biased and are used to boost sales, not to bring the truth).

However, what happens is that the loss of stability to your gait forces your muscles and joints to work harder than they should, especially in the mid and lower part of the back. In other words, toning shoes will really only end up hurting your back, so avoid them at all costs.

Flat Shoes



To finish things off, there are flat shoes. As counterintuitive as it may seem, flat shoes offer very little in the way of support, with every step forcing around 20% to 25% more pressure impact on your foot than regular running shoes. That pressure accumulates over time in terms of damage, running through your knees, hips and lower back mostly, causing you a lot of pain and trouble in the process.

What am I Supposed to Wear?


So what exactly are you actually supposed to wear to improve your chances of defeating back pain? Well, to put it simply, you need to wear flexible shoes which also provide support for your foot. These shoes should have low heels, a contoured insole, the ability to flex with your foot, about half an inch of wiggle room for your toes, and perhaps a seal of acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association, though that last one is more assurance than actual requirement.

All in all, the path to becoming back-pain free will be long and hard, but choosing to wear the right shoes while discarding the wrong ones will already go a very long way towards leading you to victory.

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