Did you know that the shoes you wear can make your back feel better or worse?
Getting to the root cause of back pain can take some serious investigation and self awareness skills. At times something as simple as wearing the wrong footwear for our chosen activity can have adverse affects. Perhaps a sedentary life of too much sitting can be the cause of pain, a nagging injury or more serious health condition could also lead to major discomfort.
Regardless of the challenges you are experiencing, there are specialists who can help. By prioritizing your well-being, back health can be greatly improved.
I was recently reminded about the importance of good supportive shoes on one of our evening dog walks. It was a rainy evening so I pulled on my rain gear and rubber boots and headed out the door.
After about 30 minutes of walking, I felt my hips and lower back tightening up and start to feel achy. By the time I got home after an hour of walking, my entire lower body felt tense and sore due to my unsupported footwear. I now opt to use my rubber boots on shorter walks and pull on my well-fitted hiking boots when I know we’ll be on foot for more than a half an hour.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are found by examining our daily lifestyle habits. Consider all your daily activities and the type of footwear you use every time you are on your feet. From healthcare workers to hair stylists who are on their feet all day or construction workers and those who perform manual labor hauling equipment around, the right footwear makes a difference and can either mean having energy to spare at the end of the day or feeling sore and tired.
Whether you're walking for exercise or just to get where you're going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the ankles, knees, hips and spine remain in correct alignment.
What to Look for When Choosing Good Footwear:
If you are in the prevention stage of back pain or like the idea of low back conditioning while you go about your daily activities, the rocker soles or five-finger shoes are good options when used moderately. Otherwise orthopedic shoes with supportive soles and enough space for the foot to move naturally are best for days where you will be on your feet for longer periods of time.
See a specialist
We love to spend time outdoors hiking and walking. The last time my husband and I went to purchase a new pair of running shoes, we went to a specialty sports store to get the best fit for our personal needs. Their trained staff took the time to measure the length and width of our feet and made recommendations of a few styles based on our lifestyle and activity level.
I have wide, flat feet with moderate bunions that used to be really painful until I understood the importance of a good shoe and was ready to make a change in my habits. The days of wearing high-heeled, pointy shoes are gone! And many popular athletic shoes don’t work for my feet. I love sharing what I discover... my all time favorite hiking shoe and winter boot are the Oboz brand. They have a rigid, sturdy sole, and wide forefront keeping my feet supported along with feeling cozy and dry. Now my friends and family are loving them too!
If you have specific needs, seek our a podiatrist or specialist who is trained in biomechanics and who can identify postural imbalances or gait abnormalities.
When it comes the the « best shoe », there is no one size fits all. Just like we use different jackets for varying weather conditions, we can choose our footwear based on our activity level, movement needs and the duration of time you’ll be on your feet. If you feel numbness, pain, or discomfort in your feet, ankles, knees and back, then consider changing your footwear or alternating between different types of shoes throughout your day: an appropriate pair for work, a well-fitted pair for your fitness activities and another comfortable yet supportive pair when lounging at home. And if you still like the sexy uncomfortable ones that leave you walking funny when you remove them, limit the time you actually have them on your feet. Wear your running shoes to and from your event to give your feet and back a break. You’ll be healthier and happier in the long run!