March 7, 2019
Back pain can be really debilitating, especially if it prevents a person from performing normal daily activities. It is a known fact that high heels can cause back pain, but so are some other shoe types.

The choice of footwear can have a much severe effect on back health than it is generally realized, especially for people whose daily activities involve prolonged standing. Nevertheless, even a short period of time wearing the wrong shoes can cause stress and pain to the spine and the soft tissues that support them. This is because back pain can develop first at the feet and move up from there.

Why does footwear affect back pain?
Walking the wrong way can, over time, contribute to conditions like sciatica, bulging discs, disc pain and other degenerative spine disorders. Our shoes and how they support our feet can have a lot to do with developing a good gait (walking pattern) or a bad one. The way the foot moves while taking a step affects how the rest of the body follows. When a person steps correctly, the foot should come down on the ground with the heel first, and then roll inward or pronate to absorb shock. Under-pronation and over-pronation cause increased strain on the lower back.

Characteristics of Problematic Shoes
Worn-out shoes
Even a high-quality and very expensive pair of shoes can become a source of back pain over time if the sole or heel are worn out; especially if they are wearing unevenly. This could lead to imbalances when walking with a resultant strain on muscles and tendons.

Walking shoes tend to wear out more on the heel and running shoes in the middle of the foot, but if the soles of a person’s shoes are worn out more in other areas, it may indicate that the gait is unbalanced. To find out if you have an unbalanced gait, get a pair of old shoes that you have worn for a while and check how the sole is worn.

Shoe height
The height of the shoes commonly worn is relevant to both men and women since men also wear footwear that elevates their heels. Generally, any heel elevation of over an inch begins to put stress on multiple joints and muscles. When the heels are raised, the body has to compensate to prevent a person falling forward, thereby putting a lot of strain on the back and knee muscles.

Arch support
Another important factor regarding footwear and back pain is the level of support to the arches of the foot (The curves on inner and outer parts of the foot). This encourages the arches to roll slightly in when walking so that the weight is distributed from the heel towards the ball of the foot. With no support, this excess rotation stresses the knees, hips and the lower back. Flip flops and flats are both notorious for lack of arch support.

Shoes that Cause Back Pain
Our shoes and how they support our feet can have a massive impact on our body. Although the feet seem far off from the back, they can be closely related and can contribute to back pain.

Weight Loss and Toning Shoes
These are the least known shoes in terms of causing back pain. Toning shoes are designed with little mini pods on the soles that are similar to a wobble board which is just like walking on an unstable surface. The concept of toning shoes is to make a person work the muscles in the legs which otherwise would not work from ordinary walking.

However, the unusual heel results in an abnormal distribution of the body weight which can lead to strain in the Achilles tendons and injuries to the ankle, knee and back.

Ayoola Aiyegbusi E-mail:

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