The Link Between Back Pain and Your Shoes

The Link Between Back Pain and Your Shoes

Dec 14 , 2021


Tags - Back Pain and Shoes


Back pain can be very unpleasant.

More so if it’s beginning to prevent you from carrying on with your daily activities, like walking or driving.

You may not have thought it, because feet seem quite a distance away from the back, but they can influence your back pain.

That’s right, your back pain may not have anything to do with your spine itself.

The reason being, factors like the way you move your feet and the types of shoes you wear will depend on how much support is provided to your body.

Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, for the simple reason: to create and control movement.

Back in the day, before flattened, man-made surfaces were made, our feet were challenged by uneven surfaces to keep them strong, healthy and functional.

Today, it’s not practical to walk around barefoot, nor is it socially acceptable, so we have to wear shoes.

However, your choice of footwear can affect your feet from its natural movement, altering the way your body functions and therefore, result in back pain.

That said, here are 3 of the worst shoes you can wear if you’re suffering from back pain.

1. High Heels

Despite how sexy high heels look and make you feel, they are a very common cause of back pain.

Every inch will make a difference, and not only do they affect the spine, but they have unpleasant effects on your feet, knees and hips too.

Simply, when you wear high heels your body weight is shifted forward onto the balls of the feet, and this adds pressure to the bones and joints.

Plus, heels restrict the full range of motion in the foot which can result in deformities like bunions, hammertoes or ingrown toenails, which can have an effect on your gait.

Not only that, but the more often you wear heels, the shorter and tighter your calf muscles become, which means your quads have to work harder, adding extra stress on your knee joints.

To put it simply, when other parts of your body are pushed out of alignment, this can result in back pain; everything’s connected.


2. Flats

Now, you may be thinking: flats are the way to go.

But, don’t go and buy a new pair just yet, because even flat shoes can be a contributing factor to your back pain.

Essentially, shoes that are completely flat will not provide any support for your feet, and this will overall affect how the rest of your body functions.

Basically, flat shoes can make the achilles tendons feel really tight and place extra strain on the plantar fascia, which supports the arches of your feet.

And, this tightness can lead to fallen arches, which over time can result in osteoarthritis.

Furthermore, flat shoes can lead to overstretching of the tendons in the feet as well as adding more pressure on the heel of the foot.

The reason being, is that flat shoes have very little or no shock absorption at all, therefore your feet take all the impact.

Finally, flat shoes can also make your feet roll inwards, known as overpronation, and this can push your knees and hips out of their normal alignment and therefore add to your back pain.


3. Flip Flops

If you’re suffering from back pain, flip flops are a no-go!

Because, when you walk in flip flops, you automatically have to scrunch your toes in order to keep them on your feet.

And walking this way is going to have an impact on your body.

Similar to flat shoes, like ballerina pumps, flip flops offer no cushioning or stability for the soles of the feet, which means there is extra pressure added to the outer edges of the foot, resulting in a slight rotation of the lower part of the leg.

In turn, this causes the angle of the pelvis to tilt and increase the curve in the lower spine.

In addition, walking in flip flops makes you take smaller strides, which adds strain on your feet, hips and lower back muscles, hence why they contribute to your back pain.

Lastly, flip flops will alter the biomechanics of your foot, which can lead to permanent damages such as hammertoe; this has a knock on effect on the way you walk, affecting posture and thus causing back pain.


Concluding Thoughts

Your feet support the entire weight of your body, absorbs the shock generated when you walk and helps to keep your spine properly aligned.

So, it’s essential you select the right footwear that fits properly, has plenty of cushioning and offers adequate support.

Keep in mind, the lower the heel is, the better it will be for your back, and if you’re a lover of heels, then thicker block heels will be the better choice for more even weight distribution.

Of course, we all like to wear flip flops in the summer, but keep these for when you’re lounging and do not wear them for long distance walking, or you’ll be more likely to develop back pain or make it worse.

For more information, please get in touch today.


Check our full range of comfortable shoes here in the meantime.


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  1. Plantar Fasciitis: Risk Factors and Treatments
  2. Hammer Toe: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
  3. 5 Home Remedies for Sore Feet: Relieving Pain & Discomfort