When talking about a “bad” pair of shoes, you may think of a cheap pair or a poorly-constructed pair. But, a high-quality, well-constructed, very expensive pair of shoes can become a source of back pain over time.
Even if you have the very best, top-of-the-line shoes, if they’ve been used frequently for over a year, chances are they are no longer doing you any favors. Take a look at the soles of the shoes. Are they worn? Look especially hard at whether they are wearing unevenly. This could lead to imbalances and strain on muscles and tendons.
This message is not just for women wearing high heels. Men also wear footwear that elevates their heels. Dress shoes usually have a heel that has much of the same effect. Many types of boots do as well. Any heel elevation of over an inch begins to put stress on multiple joints and muscles.
By raising your heels, your body has to compensate so you won’t fall forward. Think if you were standing on a hill sloping upwards behind you. You would have to arch your back towards it, bend your knees slightly and tighten your quadriceps. This weakens and shortens your hamstrings too. All of this puts a lot of stress on your lower back especially.
Another important factor regarding footwear and back pain is the level of arch support. Flip flops and flats are both notorious for lack of arch support. You want your arches to be encouraged to roll slightly in, so that the weight is distributed from the heel towards the ball of your foot, but not too much. With no support, this excess rotation stresses the knees, hips and again, the lower back.
West Cary Wellness can help you identify the right shoes
So, what do healthy shoes look like then? Healthy shoes are the opposite of all these. They are relatively new, without excess wear on the soles; they elevate the heels less than an inch, avoiding the effect of walking downhill all day; and they offer proper arch support. It can be hard to find stylish shoes that meet these three goals, but West Cary Wellness can assist. We serve those in Cary, Raleigh, Morrisville, Durham, Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas with their back pain. The impact of gravity on our spine all starts at your feet and we can help figure out if shoes are a major contributing factor to your pain.