For the most part, our feet happily do their job each day, absorbing pressure five times our body weight as if it were nothing.
We also know when something like an annoying stubbed toe comes up, we realize how much we really do depend on them keeping us mobile. But there is more riding on those durable soles. Our feet – and even more specifically, the footwear we force them into – affect the all-important posture that keeps us pain-free. (And we’re not just talking about pinched toes!)
So if you want to avoid lower back pain – and keep that satisfying sense of well-being after visiting your doctor of chiropractic – you might want to weed these shoes out of your closet.
• Open-back sandals and flip-flops in particular make us feel free, or at least a few steps away from the beach. We are seeing them more often, even in professional settings. But they aren’t doing you any favors! Because they have no structure – think of toes used as little claws to keep them on – you’re forced to use other tendons and muscles to keep you going. And that does not provide the stability to keep you standing tall and free of back pain. Studies prove it; admit it and scrap the strappy footwear.
• You know high heels are taboo. When the heels are two inches or higher, you are pitched forward, affecting the spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Even worse, if you are a chronic wearer, reversing the damage isn’t as easy as changing your shoes. Your calf muscles become cramped and bulge as they adjust to keeping your body in balance. Don’t head down that slippery slope.
• And the answer isn’t flats. Again, a flat shoe offers no arch support, leading to a whole new set of woes. Anything that forces you to adjust your gait to stay in balance is going to affect your posture … and eventually your back.
• Been there already? Pitch the worn shoes that slip you into that familiar gait. It is time to give your feet some TLC with features that pamper your posture.
• So where does that leave us? They exist, but it is going to take time to adjust. Look for shoes that fit well with room for your toes. You want good arch support and an inclined sole. And be sure to do some stretching exercises, undoing the damage already done.
Your back will thank you, your feet will throw a party and you will make your doctor of chiropractic very happy. And, as always, the others are fine in moderation, like a special night out. But just watch how quickly you are ready to get out of them at the end of the night. That says it all!