Menu

Location

How Your Shoe Choices Affect Your Back and Spine

Woman having back pain from high heels

Woman having back pain from high heels

Are Your Shoes Causing Back and Spine Problems?

Have you been wondering why you have back pain? Your shoes may be to blame. Unfortunately, the most stylish choices don't always offer the best support or comfort for your feet and spine.

What Happens When You Select the Wrong Type of Shoes

Your feet support the weight of your entire body, absorb the shock generated when you run and walk, and help keep your spine properly aligned. If you choose shoes that don't offer adequate support or place too much pressure on one part of your foot, the vertebrae in your spine may soon become misaligned.

Misalignments, called "subluxations" by chiropractors, cause back and neck pain, muscle tension, spasms, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Hands-on spinal manipulation can improve spinal alignment, but subluxations may continue to occur if you don't make a few footwear changes.

Some Shoes Are More Likely Than Others to Cause Problems

High heels are particularly troublesome because the shoes place extreme pressure on the front part of your foot. A one-inch heel increases pressure by 22 percent, while pressure rises by 76 percent with a three-inch heel, according to UPMC Pinnacle.

When you put on a pair of high heels, your posture changes completely. Due to the unnatural position of your feet, your lower back moves forward slightly, disrupting the natural curve of your spine. Wearing the shoes every day will increase wear on tear on the discs between the vertebrae that absorb shock and may strain the joints and ligaments in your back. Knee and muscle pain, tight calf muscles, and Achilles tendons are other consequences of wearing high heels.

Both high heels and flip flops can affect your gait, which is the way you normally walk. Gait changes may alter spinal alignment, cause balance problems, and trigger knee, hip, and back pain. Auburn University researchers reported that an altered gait due to flip flop wear makes walkers take shorter steps and affects the vertical force of the heels.

Lack of arch support is a common problem when you wear flip flops or flats. Arch support helps stabilize your feet, legs, and spine, and is essential to proper spinal alignment. Without proper support, your feet and your back may begin to ache by the end of the day.

How to Select Shoes That Protect Your Spine

Keeping these tips in your mind will help you select spine-friendly shoes:

  • Lower Your Heels. "The lower the better," is a good motto to follow when it comes to heels. If you're not ready to give up high heels entirely, give your feet a break by switching to lower heels after a few hours or wearing high heels every other day. Thick heels are a better choice than stilettos and offer more even weight distribution.
  • Rethink Your Flip Flop Obsession: Flip flops can be a good choice if you're spending the day at the beach or hanging around the house, but they shouldn't be your go-to shoes. You're more likely to develop back pain or injure yourself if you wear flip flops every day.
  • Choose Well-Cushioned Shoes. Shoes with plenty of cushioning help your feet absorb shock and, of course, are much more comfortable.
  • Replace Athletic Shoes Often. Your shoes may look like new, but that doesn't mean that they're still offering adequate support. Cushioning in running shoes may become compressed in as little as three months. Replacing your shoes often helps you avoid injuries and pain.
  • Try Orthotics. Orthotics are shoe inserts custom-designed by your chiropractor. The inserts provide arch support, keep your feet properly aligned, reduce foot movement, and provide extra cushioning.
  • Get Fitted. Ask the shoe salesperson to measure your feet the next time you go shopping. Wearing the wrong size shoes, whether they're too small or too big, may be a factor in gait issues.
  • Avoid Tight Shoes. Tight shoes also increase pressure on your feet and can affect alignment and gait. Make sure your shoes offer a little wiggle room in the toes.
  • Make Arch Support a Priority. Look for flats, flip flops, and other types of shoes that offer adequate support.

Are you suffering from back pain? We offer treatments that will realign your spine and relax your tight muscles. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Sources:

PubMed: Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: Comparative Analysis of Human Gait While Wearing Thong-Style Flip-Flops Versus Sneakers, 7-8/10

American Osteopathic Association: The Real Harm in High Heels

UPMC Pinnacle: The High Price of Heels, 5/10/19

Spine Universe: High Heels and Flip-Flops Cause Back Pain, 8/1/18

American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: That Pain in Your Back Could Be Linked to Your Feet

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 AM

6:00 PM

Tuesday:

2:00 PM

6:00 PM

Wednesday:

8:00 AM

6:00 PM

Thursday:

8:00 AM

6:00 PM

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I love it there so polite and right to the point never pushy or rude vet respectful. I wouldn’t go anyplace else. Love them all!!"
    Kandice Desalvo V.
  • "Dr. Ho and Dr. Q are caring and compassionate doctors. Their goal is to make you feel great. They take the time to listen to your concerns and address them. I would definitely recommend these doctors!"
    Sandra E.
  • "I got refer from a Dear good friend Jennifer which ive been having problems with my neck n knees. I would definitely recommend Pinnacle Wellness they have a great friendly staff n Doctors are great! I've learned a lot about our bodies n etc. I will continue seeing them again !!! My adjustments are great!"
    Cynthia T.
  • "We have been going to Pinnacle Wellness for over 3 months now, back pain has stopped 100%. We are still blown away by how amazing Dr. Q and Dr. Ho are. We are blessed they came into our lives and have truly added so much to our knowledge about our bodies and even personal growth and development. Pinnacle Wellness is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. Isabelle at the front desk always makes our day. If you are looking for a chiropractor that truly cares for your well being, my family would definitely recommend you to look no further and make Pinnacle Wellness your destination. I had just learned to live with and accept my daily back pain. Thanks to Pinnacle Wellness our lives have been forever changed and look forward to seeing the happy faces of the staff and will be enjoying a pain free life thanks to our journey with Pinnacle Wellness."
    Cara C.
  • "If you have back and/or neck trouble and have never been to a chiropractor before, then this is the place for you. I was referred here by my wife who has been seeing the doctors for several years. Since starting my adjustments I sleep better and feel better all around, and no it doesn't hurt. Currently I am recovering from tennis elbow and bursitis which the doctors are helping me recover by using a massager on my arm when I visit, even my physical therapist was glad they were helping out."
    Royce S.
  • "I have been a patient of Pinnacle Wellness for many years. They have a great, friendly staff and Doctors who truly care about there patients. I would recommend this place to anyone with back or neck pain."
    James S.
  • "The staff is extremely friendly and personable when you enter the facility. They make you feel like you are a part of the family. Our kiddos get adjusted too and for our infant it helped him to crawl properly when he was having difficulties or crawling abnormally. It is a vital part of our healthiness and we would recommend them to everyone!"
    Jennifer C.