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Can Bad Shoes Cause Back Pain

There Are Shoes That Can Actually Help With Your Back Pain

How Your Shoes Can Cause Knee Or Back Pain

If you struggle with back pain, the experts at the Healthy Back Institute advise that you invest in a pair of tennis shoes or sneakers designed with movement in mind. Back-friendly shoes also have a contoured insole for shock absorption and arch support. To avoid back pain, shoes should have both arch support and cushioning.

If you want to wear heels, the experts at Mount Elizabeth Hospital suggest that you choose a shoe with a 1- to 2-inch heel at most. And Everyday Health recommends that you look for a shoe with a lightweight heel made from cork or rubber.

Regardless of the style, your shoes should fit properly, so make sure that you try them on before you buy. Ideally, the pair should have around a half-inch of space at the front, so your toes aren’t smashed against the shoe. And when in doubt, look for brands that carry the seal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, which have been tested for comfort and support.

Are Your Shoes Causing Your Back Pain

BIDMC Contributor

Inspired by the Boston Marathon runners? Before you head out on your first run, check out these tips from Dr. John Giurini, Chief of the Division of Podiatric Surgery at BIDMC, who talks about the importance of choosing the right shoesnot only for your feet, but for the health of your back.

Q. Dr. Giurini, can you explain how your shoes affect your spine and back?

A. Feet are like the foundation of a building: they are the foundation of the body. If your feet are mechanically unsound, they can change the alignment of all the structures above them. I often see patients with mechanically “unsound” feet who are experiencing knee, hip and back pain. By wearing shoes that don’t give the proper support, they can make the problem worse. Part of any evaluation for low back pain should be to look below, including the feet.

Q. So your shoes can contribute to or worsen back pain?

A. It’s possible. If a person is having low back pain and the physician can’t find a cause within the back itself, we need to look at the foot, how it functions in gait and how your entire lower extremity is aligned. In some cases, more supportive shoes or a shoe insert may help solve the problem.

Q. What do high heels do to the alignment of the body? Is there a “safe” heel height for women?
Q. What about less supportive shoes, like flip-flops?
Q. So are sneakers your best bet?
Q. Finally, what should you look for when shopping for shoes?

Do The Wrong Shoes Cause Back Pain

If youve never considered your shoes as the source of your back pain, think again. Choosing to wear the wrong shoeor one that fits incorrectly contributes to back pain and other unhealthy conditions for your feet and other joints. The professionals of Crown Foot and Ankle Centerin Danville and Lexington KY can accurately help you indicate what is causing your back pain. But first, consider whether or not your choice in shoes is contributing to the pain.

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Tightness Of Calf Muscles

When you are consistently wearing a shoe that has a heel, your calf muscles become contracted. This contracture of the calf muscle over time can cause plantar fasciitis symptoms to occur due to inadequate stretch of the Achilles tendon. You may also develop Achilles tendonitis due to tightness of the tendon. This can cause dull achy pain in the back of your heel.

West Cary Wellness Can Help You Identify The Right Shoes

Improper Footwear Can Cause Lower Back Pain

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.

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How To Prevent Back Pain

In any case, you can prevent back pain by wearing the right type of shoes. You should not wear shoes that are too chummy or too narrow. Your shoes should not be too broad.Your shoes should not be too slippery. You should not wear high-heeled shoes. You should wear shoes that have good support. You should not wear shoes that are also high.

Sandals With Arch Support

Generally speaking, sandals and flip-flops dont provide a lot of support. But special, orthopedic-style sandals are an exception, says Fu. These do provide a proper amount of arch support, says Butts.

If you love sandals as daily footwear, a podiatrist should be able to help you identify which types would be best for you.

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High Heels Are Giving You Poor Posture

It may be time to ditch your heels. Poor posture can create muscle tension, putting a strain on muscles and soft tissues, and causing pain.

A common posture mistake when standing is to stick your bottom out, which creates more of a curve in your lower back .

And what contributes to this way of standing? You guessed it: wearing high heels. Your stilettos may very well be causing strain and muscle tension, which can make back pain worse.

Lower Back Pain Often Starts From The Ground Up

Sciatica & Back Pain? How to Put on Shoes, Socks, Pants, Other Tips

Struggling with consistent low back pain? Feel like youve tried everything to kick this chronic pain to the curb, to no avail? Perhaps youve tried getting a massage and performing various low back rehabilitation exercises. Maybe youve even experienced some temporary relief only to have that chronic lower backache return.

If this sounds like you, we have some surprising news- the culprit could actually be your shoes. Seriously.

As you work to rid yourself of lower back pain once and for all, checking the effect that shoes have on your lower back could be a critical part of the process. Heres why, and what to look for when carefully selecting footwear.

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Use High Heels With Great Discretion

Knowing what shoes to avoid may dramatically reduce your pain and discomfort. High heels may look great, but they put your body into a totally unnatural position. Vitality Chiropractic states that heels push the chest forward, the lower back forward and tilt the pelvis. They cause the calf muscles to stay in a flexed position the entire time, creating fatigue throughout your lower body. Does this mean you have to get rid of all your high heels? No, you should simply wear them for short periods of time and for special occasions. Use the principle of moderation.

What Back Pain Treatment Options Are Available To Me Can Bad Shoes Cause Back Pain

There are many methods for treating back pain at home, but only a few of these have been proven to be effective. The most common treatment is rest and applying ice to the painful area. This treatment is very relaxing and should be used for only 10-20 minutes. It should never be applied while you sleep. Also, exercise and stretching exercises are essential for keeping muscles and supporting tissues flexible. While some of these methods may not seem like they are effective for you, they can help you overcome your back pain.

Physical therapy is a good option for treating back pain. It will help you improve your posture and strengthen your core muscles. Massage therapy and acupuncture are other options for relieving tension and reducing joint pain. Some people also find that water therapy improves flexibility and balance, while yoga helps them heal faster from injuries. Proper nutrition and lifestyle changes are also important for treating back pain. It is very important to consult a physician if you are experiencing back pain because it will help you avoid more serious conditions later on.

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How Do Feet Work

The front part of the feet and the toes act like a lever. It allows us to compress the portion and walk or break into a run. The back part of the feet, i.e., the heel and the arch, act as shock absorbers when you run, jump or walk.

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How Can Feet Cause Back Pain?

The act of walking, running, or jumping is not limited to the feet. All movement of the body is regulated by a chain of parts which include:

Together they keep the body balance and gait proper. Because all of them are connected, an imbalance in even one of these parts can cause pain in another. It is why the wrong type of footwear can lead to back pain. High heels are not recommended for long use during the day. It alters the curvature of the spine and causes low back pain. High heels can be worn for special occasions and short term use.

Flat Shoes And Back Pain

How to walk in high heels: A doctor fed

Completely flat shoes do not provide any support for your feet, which then has a knock-on effect on the rest of the body – similar to what we have observed in wearing heels.

Flat shoes can cause tight Achilles tendons, as well as putting strain on the Plantar Fascia which helps to support the arches of the feet. This tightness can then result in fallen arches which is when the foot lies completely flat and pressed against the ground. If this is left untreated, over time it can lead to osteoarthritis of the knee joints.

On top of all this, flat shoes may cause overstretching or tearing of the tendons and ligaments in the feet, plus they put added pressure on the heel of the foot. This is because there is little or no shock absorption from the shoe itself, so instead the impact from movements like walking are taken on by the feet.

Another issue to bear in mind is that flat shoes can cause your feet to roll inwards . This may push the knees and hips out of alignment and further contributes to back pain.

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Weight Loss/toning Shoes And Back Pain

Paying attention to your footwear can help to prevent back pain caused by shoes, but which shoes are the main culprits of back pain in the first place?

First on our list is perhaps the most problematic and the least known about: figure-fixing shoes.

Toning shoes are designed with little mini pods on the soles that are similar to wobble boards. These mimic walking on an unstable surface and the aim of this is to make you work muscles in the legs that wouldn’t normally be used when walking. However, the unusual sole of this shoe results in the abnormal distribution of body weight which, in turn, can lead to strain in the Achilles tendons, as well as injuries in the ankle, knee and back.

Toning shoes may also have a curved sole, which is again designed to make you use extra leg muscles when walking. These can also cause a change to walking posture, thus resulting in back pain. Without a flat sole on the shoe, there is also an increased likelihood of falls.

Best For Flat Feet: Hoka Arahi 6 Running Shoe


  • Good stability for flat feet

Although its a stability shoe, Hokas Arahi 6 shoe features the brands well-cushioned midsole for shock absorption and comfort, making it an excellent option for overpronators who have back pain.

The shoe features a stabilizing J-Frame, which protects those with flat feet, who tend to overpronateor roll their feet inward as they run. A J-shaped section of firm, dense foam on the medial side helps keep the arch from collapsing, providing essential support and stability. Additionally, the outsole features Hokas meta-rocker design, which promotes a natural gait and allows easier heel-to-toe transitions.

Even with all that support and cushioning, the shoe is surprisingly light, helping to reduce strain on the feet and back. Its also extremely durable, with rubber on the bottom to cover high-wear areas.

Hoka shoes are a bit bulky in the sole and typically run wide, and thats definitely the case for the Arahi 6. Although the shoe may not work for those with narrow feet, its a great option for those who want a well-cushioned stability shoe for running, walking, or all-day wear.

Price at time of publication: $140

Weight: 8 ouncesI Materials: Synthetic upper, rubber soleI Cushioning: HighI Closure: Lace-up

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Can Bad Shoes Cause Leg Pain

When you have pain in your feet, the symptoms can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. The foot consists of many different parts, although we often carelessly think that it is only one body part. It can hurt the ankle, hurt the arch, or sting the toes.

Many people with pain in the feet experience that the pain is aching throughout the foot and can bite sometimes. In some cases, it hurts in the calf and in the leg, even though the source of the pain is initially in the foot.

The Link Between Shoes And Back Pain

Can high heels cause lower back pain?

Our feet are our anchors to the ground and should act as a strong foundation. Yet, in our modern world, many of the shoes that we wear are actually lifted in the heel. Even shoes that arent classified as high-heels are frequent offenders. Most boots have at least a small heel on the back that lifts the back end of your foot up higher than the ball of your foot. And most athletic and running shoes have some kind of heel lift over the toe as well. While these smaller lifts in shoes may not seem that dramatic, when worn consistently over time, they can actually begin to affect your back health- and not in a good way.

Heres why. When our heel is continually lifted above our toes, even by a seemingly small amount, our body makes a physical shift to compensate for the altered stance. Heres how it works. As we stand, our distribution of weight changes, pushing more of our weight into the ball of our foot and even pushing our hips forward in the process. The forward-leaning posture that this renders puts more strain on your lower back area. When this slightly forward lean becomes an everyday posture for you, its easy to understand how your lower back may experience chronic discomfort.

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Best For Walking: Ryka Devotion Plus 3 Walking Shoe

  • Too thin for cold weather

Rykas Devotion Plus 3 walking shoe stands out as a solid womens pick for those who love fitness walking and dont want back pain to get in the way of reaching their daily step count. With plenty of cushioning and support, especially around the arch, heel, and ankle, the shoe offers plush landings and good shock absorption, to help protect your back and joints.

The shoes roomy toe box, stable footbed, and narrow heel offer the perfect combination for a comfortable, secure fit. Meanwhile, the shoes durable, high-quality rubber outsole adds to the overall stability with dependable traction. It even provides enough grip, support, and protection for walking on moderate trails, making it a versatile option at a budget-friendly price.

A breathable engineered mesh upper and soft, smooth lining add to the shoes overall comfort. One concern we have is that the thin upper material may not be protective enough for cold weather, so the Devotion Plus 3 is better suited for walking in warm or cool conditions.

Price at time of publication: $100

Weight: 8.2 ouncesI Materials: Engineered mesh upper, lycra lining, rubber soleI Cushioning: MediumI Closure: Lace-up

Verywell Fit / Christine Luff

The Link Between Your Feet And Low Back Pain

If you live with lower back pain, you have a lot of company. Millions of Americans deal with acute lower back pain, and, unfortunately, this pain becomes chronic for 20% of sufferers. And when it comes to back pain, theres one cause thats often overlooked: your feet.

The connection between your feet and your lower back pain may not seem immediately obvious. However, there is more than one way that your feet and back pain can be linked. In this blog, the doctors at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain the connection between back pain and your feet.

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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.


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