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Shoes to Consider for Back Pain Sufferers

February 4, 2020
Read Time: 7 Minutes

Throughout the holiday season, people find themselves on their feet quite a lot, and many struggle with back pain. What shoes are the best for preventing back pain? Are there shoes to stay away from, or shoes that can help alleviate back symptoms? The answer to both questions is yes.

As you walk through the mall, travel from relative to relative, stand at holiday cocktail parties, and cook holiday meals all day, your feet are experiencing a large amount of extra work compared to the rest of the year. Wearing the correct shoes during the holiday season is the key to preventing back pain.

How the Shoes We Wear Affect Our Backs

Many people don't associate shoes with back pain, but in reality, the two can be very closely connected. Shoes that don't fit well, or have too high a heel, alter the way you walk and can have adverse effects on your back and joints.

Wearing shoes that aren't conducive to back health can cause the lumbar muscle to become stiff and overworked, leading to poor posture. Poor posture worsens back pain, so this concern should always come first and foremost. The incorrect footwear can even cause disc compression, knee pain, and can exacerbate arthritis over time.

When you walk, you can put as much as 2x your average body weight on each leg. This means that your feet need to be adequately supported so that they can absorb and distribute the weight properly. As your feet are often in contact with solid ground, they encounter resistance, increasing the amount of shock they have to absorb.

This is why it's so crucial to have the right footwear to prevent back pain, especially during the holidays when you're on your feet the most.

Shoes: The Good and the Bad When It Comes to Back Pain

While wearing the correct footwear is vital for everyone, it's especially important for those who suffer from back pain. After all, if there's something you can do to prevent the pain before it occurs, it's way better than waiting until you're suffering and trying to take corrective measures.

Shoes That Are Bad for Back Pain

Some shoes are bad for everyone's foot and back health, but they can cause even higher levels of pain in those with pre-existing back conditions. Shoes that you should stay away from include:

Shoes That Lack Arch Support

The arches of your feet need to be adequately supported for weight-bearing purposes. If you're wearing shoes with no arch support at all, you'll notice the soles of your feet start to hurt, and then your ankles, as the pain makes its way up your legs and to your back.

Examples of shoes that lack arch support include sandals, ballet flats, and many business casual shoes for men.

High Heels

Ladies, you might want to forgo those high heels for the company holiday party. Heels are bad for your body in so many ways, as they alter the way your feet and ankles bend. Your body struggles to keep its balance when you're wearing high heels due to the unnatural angle of your feet. It does this by causing your spine to move abnormally. When your spine moves abnormally, it stresses your back muscles, leading to pain.

It's not just stilettos that can cause problems, either. The rule holds for wedges and platforms, and any other shoe that lifts your heel more than two inches off the ground.

The Best Shoes for Preventing Back Pain

While it may seem like the search for the perfect shoe is never-ending, many shoes help with back pain. Many are available for purchase online or at your local shoe store, and some can be developed specifically to meet your needs by a medical specialist.

Running Shoes

Running shoes may be among the best shoes for lower back pain. This is because running shoes are designed to help absorb the shock that hits our feet as we walk or run. They are great shoes for people who experience back pain, as they are often well-cushioned and have ample arch support.

Additionally, running shoes also typically support your ankles and can help keep your feet stay in position for correct posture.

Rocker Bottom Soles

Rocker bottom soles are also among the best shoes for back pain. The shoes have been shown to strengthen back muscles, improve the spine's curvature, and reduce lower back pain. Rocker bottom soles have also been shown to help prevent joint pain. They truly may be the holy grail for those who are struggling and are looking for the best shoes for back pain this holiday season.

If you're not familiar with rocker bottom soled shoes, they are shoes that have a thick sole and rounded heel. They have many names, including round bottom shoes, rounded sole shoes, and toning shoes. Rocker bottom soles are a great option for those with joint issues.

Birkenstocks

If you're a sandal lover with lower back pain, don't worry, there's still a shoe option for you. Sandals like Birkenstocks are helpful shoes for back pain. The hallmark trait of Birkenstocks is that their soles form to the shape of your foot naturally over time. Birkenstocks have a soft footbed, providing you with the airy feel of sandals while still getting all the support you need.

Birkenstocks also have a deep heel that helps with weight distribution and foot alignment.

Ergonomic Shoes

Ergonomic shoes are designed specifically with arch support in mind, which is the key to preventing back pain. They reduce the pressure you put on your heel as you walk and absorb the shock on your feet and legs, helping to prevent back pain this holiday season.

Prescription Orthotic Shoes

Prescription orthotic shoes are designed for you and you only. They are the best shoes for back pain, as they are custom made for your body based on your unique needs. The shoes are developed to correct any positioning problems with your feet to alleviate any extra pressure that's put on your joints, spine, or muscles.

Only a doctor can create these shoes for you, as they are considered a medical device. They are made after a careful examination and imaging process of your feet. While some online stores boast the ability to create these shoes for you without a visit to the doctor, you should always see a specialist when ordering prescription orthotic shoes.

Orthotic shoes that are made without a doctor's consultation can cause more harm than good.

How a Chiropractor Can Help with Back Pain

Even though your pain is manifesting in your back, there is likely an underlying cause. Our spinal cords are impacted by other areas of our body, such as the way we walk, how we put weight on our feet, legs, and joints, and how much time we spend on our feet. Chiropractic evaluation and course of treatment can help address and alleviate this pain.

Chiropractic Care for Joint Problems

Joint problems, such as in your ankles, knees, or hips, can lead to back pain. Ankles and knees absorb much of the shock from walking or running, and tendons and ligaments can take a beating in the process. A chiropractor can help assess this problem and evaluate how it may be contributing to your back pain.

The shoes we wear can be detrimental to our joint health. A chiropractor will be able to recommend the best shoes for back pain based on your condition.

Chiropractic Care for Back Pain

Of course, chiropractors are back pain experts. If you're experiencing back pain that results from wearing the incorrect shoes, or from an issue with your foot positioning or joints, a chiropractor will be able to treat the pain.

Treatment therapies such as chiropractic adjustment, ultrasound therapy, massage therapy, hot/cold therapy, or physical therapy may be recommended to address any pain you are experiencing. Your chiropractor will likely ask a series of questions relating to your everyday lifestyle to best assess your pain. Questions may include:

  • What is your working environment?
  • How much time do you spend on your feet each day?
  • What kind of shoes are you wearing?
  • Does your pain worsen throughout the day?
  • Are you experiencing pain in any other area of your body?
  • Do you have any chronic health conditions?

Once these questions are addressed, your chiropractor can develop a comprehensive treatment plan, and suggest the best shoes for back pain if you are experiencing any issues.

Contact ChiroCare of Florida Injury & Wellness Centers today to schedule a chiropractic consultation.

About the Author:
Dr. Michael Piccirillo
Dr. Michael Piccirillo was inspired to become a chiropractor at a young age when an injury to his shoulder threatened his ability to play baseball. After working as a Personal Trainer and Performance Coach, Dr. Piccirillo earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic, accruing multiple advanced training certifications in fitness and nutrition along the way.
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