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Does Footwear Really Cause Back Pain?
Does Footwear Really Cause Back Pain?

Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain, sciatica or spondylolisthesis? Have you stopped to consider that your footwear might be the cause of your suffering or at least might be contributing to your discomfort? Most people don’t think twice about the effects of what they put on their feet. They simply decide whether the shoes look good with the outfit, whether they’re comfortable, or whether they’re easy to put on. Unfortunately, not taking the time to think about what you’re putting on your feet could be the source of your woes.

According to the Teach Me Anatomy, when you walk, you want your heel to strike the ground first, followed by the ball of your foot and lastly, the toes. This is a normal gait. Unknowingly to many people, a lot of shoes can throw your natural gait off. When this happens, your body is forced into unnatural positions, and strain is placed on the lower spine and pelvis. Every step can jar the spine, eventually causing herniated discs and chronic lower back pain.

Use high heels with great discretion

Knowing what shoes to avoid may dramatically reduce your pain and discomfort. High heels may look great, but they put your body into a totally unnatural position. Vitality Chiropractic states that heels push the chest forward, the lower back forward and tilt the pelvis. They cause the calf muscles to stay in a flexed position the entire time, creating fatigue throughout your lower body. Does this mean you have to get rid of all your high heels? No, you should simply wear them for short periods of time and for special occasions. Use the principle of moderation.

Use flip-flops only when appropriate

Another set of footwear no-no’s is the summer flip-flops. They are easy to put on, convenient, breathable, “cute,” and horrible for your back. The Joint Chiropractic states that flip-flops provide little to no arch support for your feet, causing you to change your gait. Also, to keep these wonderful sandals on your feet, you have to curl your toes and shorten your stride. You end up putting pressure on the outside edges of your feet rather than your heels, creating lumbar pain. Flip-flops do have appropriate uses, though. Using them in a public shower is a must! They’re great for going to the beach or to make a quick run outside when putting on regular shoes would just take too long. Avoid wearing them all day long, though.

Never use toning shoes

Lastly, The Joint Chiropractic says to avoid toning shoes like the plague. The curved bottoms are supposed to help burn extra calories so you don’t have to go to the gym. What they end up doing is creating a lot of lower back pain.

Find the right shoes for you

What kinds of shoes should you be looking to wear? Some of the best advice available is from Cole Pain Therapy. Pick the right shoe for the job or occasion. If you want a replacement to your flip-flops, you might try crocs or sports sandals. Hybrid sneaker sandals are also a good choice. All of these fit the foot like a regular shoe while still having the breathability you want in a sandal. They’re generally fairly easy to slip on as well.

For everyday wear, flats can be a great option, but be careful how you choose them. Make sure they have plenty of padding and good arch support. Avoid ballet slippers as they have little to no support and jar the spine with each step. If you find a pair of shoes you just have to have and they don’t have the right kind of support, consider purchasing orthotics to correct the shortcomings of the shoes.

For sport’s activities, go to a specialty store and let an employee help you. Often, the stores train the employees to figure out people’s strides and gaits. Armed with this information, the employees can then recommend appropriate footwear.

The most important thing you can do if you suffer from chronic lower back pain, though, is to see a specialist. Contact the specialists at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care today and let them properly diagnose the cause of your discomfort and point you in the direction you need to go to find relief.

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