Back pain is among the most common bodily pains everyone has felt at least once. If the pain persists, it can be bothersome to our daily functioning, degrade our quality of life, and sometimes be debilitating. While it is common knowledge that back pain can stem from injuries and bad posture, another less-known cause also plays a significant role: our footwear. From ill-fitting shoes to extremely high-heeled heels, improper footwear can change how we walk, affecting our ankles, knees, hip joints, and back. Below, we go into more detail about the top shoe features and types of shoes to ensure you don’t miss a beat from lower back pain.
Shoe features to look into for proper fit and comfort
There are several factors to consider when purchasing a fitting pair of shoes. First and foremost, it should cause no irritation, pinching, or squeezing in any part of the foot. Try them on and walk around to see if the pain remains when you move. Always opt for functionality over aesthetics, as being free from back pain is worth more than impressing others with your kicks. Here are the key features to look into when searching for the right shoe:
- Low heel height
Regularly using footwear with high heel height (such as high heels) can increase the lumbar spine’s lordotic curve, causing a hyperlordotic lumbar responsible for back pain. Podiatrists recommend a one to two-inch heel height for your shoes as it is the ideal range.
Poor walking biomechanics from wearing ill-fitting shoes can impact the forces travelling up the legs and to the spine. The additional strain or stress can build up over time in the joints, ligaments, and spinal disks. Thus, consider using shoes with shock-absorbent features or a buffer to protect against the hard impacts from walking and avoid flat-soled footwear like slip-on sandals, flat-soled shoes, and flip-flops which lack such components.
Wearing slippery, wobbly, or ill-fitting shoes will generally need more support. This is an issue for people whose ankles turn in (over supination) or turn out (overpronation), as the lack of shoe stability may lead them to develop poor foot posture. If the issue remains unresolved, it may develop into lower back pain over time. Thus, good shoes with a solid grip on the ground are essential to providing stability and a strong base for the limbs and spine.
The way you walk is also crucial in preventing lower back pain. Poor posture generally leads to uneven wear on the back ligaments, spinal disks, and various bodily joints. Thus, take care of shoes that may affect your posture and, ultimately, your spine.
Shoe recommendations to alleviate or prevent lower back pain
If you experience chronic back pain, your shoes may not be appropriate for alleviating the pain. However, it is always recommended first to consult a podiatrist, orthopedist, or shoe expert to find the right shoe that fits your needs. Below are a few tried-and-true footwear options that can help with discomfort or injury in your lower back.
1. Running Shoes
Running shoes generally work well for lower back pain. They are designed to help absorb the shock that hits our feet as we walk or run. They are often well-cushioned and have better arch support and are good for those who experience back pain.
Additionally, they are designed to support shoes your ankles and can help keep your feet stay in position for correct posture.
Good brands like Asics, Hoka , Brooks will also have different kinds to fit the foot types to offer best possible support.
2. Prescription shoes
Prescription footwear is custom-made for each wearer to suit their exact foot shape, specific needs, and other conditions to limit unnecessary force or pressure on the feet and body. Professional assessments for insoles and orthotics from experienced podiatrists are generally indispensable to cater to a person’s specific foot size and shape. Using someone else’s prescription shoes only causes more harm than good.
3. Ergonomic shoes
Ergonomic shoes are made to be the comfortable fit for your type of foot thanks to their design featuring good arch support and many other positive qualities such as improved stability and great shock absorption.
Given that the feet serve as the body’s foundation, it is only natural that whatever happens to them will affect the rest of your body, specifically the hips and lower back. Using poor footwear causes an uncomfortable experience but also causes increased strain and stress through the limbs and spine, which, over time, will cause lower back pain to develop. So take good care of your feet by wearing proper and comfortable footwear, and consider seeing a podiatrist to find the footwear you need. Lower back pain can be treated with decompression therapy, manual therapy, and core training exercises.
If wearing the proper footwear does not suffice to relieve the pain, consider reaching out to a pain management specialist today. At Pain SG, we specialise in treating and managing various pain conditions and offer proven solutions for ankle pain, heel pain, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and more. Our qualified physiotherapists are always ready to work together to bring you the pain relief that improves your quality of life.
To learn more about our services, send your queries to email@example.com or call us for an appointment today.