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Are Your Shoes Making Your Back Pain Worse?

Are Your Shoes Making Your Back Pain Worse?

Your feet are nothing short of an engineering marvel. Below the surface, 28 bones, 30 joints, and over 100 muscles and connective tissues work together to bear your body weight, help you move, and do much more. 

Before the modern world made flat surfaces the standard (and made going barefoot much less acceptable), our feet were challenged by the undulating surfaces below, keeping them strong, healthy, and functional. 

Now, we cram our feet into suffocating footwear and slam them around on unforgiving walkways. And since the feet are the foundation for the rest of the body, it’s no wonder that wearing the wrong footwear eventually leads to problems, especially for your back. 

Our team at Nebben Physical Medicine in Clarksville, Tennessee, knows how complicated back pain can be, so we look at every possible factor, including your choice of footwear. 

Your shoes, your feet, and your back 

One of the main ways your footwear wreaks havoc on your back relates to how it affects your posture. Flimsy flip-flops, sky-high heels, and other unstable shoes cause your feet, ankles, and knees to turn in awkwardly, compromising your skeleton’s natural positioning from your feet up. 

With your ankles, knees, hips, and other joints out of alignment, your back must do more work than usual to keep you upright. This puts an inordinate amount of strain on your back, triggering or exacerbating back pain. 

Furthermore, if your shoes don’t have adequate support and cushioning, the force generated by each step sends shockwaves directly upward into your lower body and back. Over time, the repeated, unrelieved stress can cause back pain.

Back pain can come from anywhere, and often the underlying causes require treatment. If you’re struggling with back pain that lasts longer than a few weeks, doesn’t get better with conservative intervention, or keeps you from your daily routine, see us right away. 

Making back-friendly shoe choices

If your shoes are indeed the culprit behind your back pain, the good news is that the fix is often as close as the nearest shoe store. But before you run out to buy what seems to be the best shoe for your back, consider these guidelines. 

Check the heel height

A heel height of 1-2 inches is ideal. Anything higher or lower throws off how your feet and legs, as well as your knees and hips, turn in as you move. 

Prioritize cushioning and shock absorption

Everyone's heel strikes the ground with some amount of force. That means we all need a bit of cushioning under our feet. 

Find shoes equipped with lots of cushioning and built-in shock absorption to keep the force of your movements from radiating through your lower body and back. 

Mind the arches

It’s no accident your foot was designed with an arch. That natural curve is crucial to your foot’s movement, shock absorption, and flexibility. Make sure your shoes support your arches. Otherwise, your feet turn in awkwardly, triggering alignment issues that impact your back. 

If you’d like more information, or if your back pain is severe, call our office today or request your appointment online. Our team has years of experience diagnosing and treating many causes of back pain and can get you the help you need. 

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