Are Your Summer Shoes Hurting Your Back?

Posted by Jesse Flores on

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Your summer shoes are cool. Maybe even comfortable. But they might be killing your back.
Your favorite summer outfit isn’t complete until you’ve got the perfect shoes to match your sunglasses and your favorite hat. They’ve got to be perfect for the beach and that BBQ you have later. Your favorite sandals or boat shoes might look great, but if your back is aching by the end of the day, is it really worth it?
Yup, your summer shoes might be causing your back pain. While flip flops and flats might be airy and stylish, they are not supportive. 

Why Your Shoes Matter

You may be strutting in fabulous heels or lounging in your slip ons, but how do they really feel? Can you feel your toes? Are your calves aching? Is it hard to maintain your posture? Your shoes should support you and feel comfortable when you are walking. Your feet are directly linked to your spinal health and if your shoes are hurting your feet, they’re probably hurting your back. This means they’re not giving you the support you need. 
Do you need to give up your favorite summer shoes? No. But you do need to stop punishing your muscles and get some more support.
Let’s take a look at some of the least supportive shoes and what you can do to make them work for you. 

Which Shoes Wreck Your Back?

When it comes down to it, pretty much every shoe can cause issues if you don’t have the right support. Footwear should be supportive, and flat shoes or flip flops generally come without support. 
Your shoes should:
  • Sit on your feet correctly and fit right
  • Support your toes, the sides of your feet, and your heels
  • Support your arch
The worst shoes for your feet are shoes that are too small
If you are wearing shoes that position your feet unnaturally, such as high heels and even those casual flats, you could be causing your muscles to strain while trying to keep you upright. This isn't fun for your body, and over time, you're going to pay for it. Our feet are designed to support our bodies on their own; it's why walking barefoot is so comfortable. 
Flip flops may be comfortable on the beach, but for everyday wear, they're not supportive on your back and put unnecessary pressure on your hips. 
Another sneaky cause of back pain are those shoes that are supposed to help you lose weight and tone your legs. If these sound too good be true, it’s because they are. These shoes, much like high heels, force you to walk in an unnatural way and alter your posture. 

What You Should Do If You're In Pain

The obvious choice here might be to ditch the shoes that are pulling your spine, but if you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of them, here are some things you can try: 
  • Yoga. Yoga is one of the best things to do if you are dealing with back pain. You can learn how to hold your posture correctly, which will go a long way to making your back feel better. The movements in yoga also work to strengthen your core, which will also help to alleviate your back pain.
  • Stretching. With the right stretches throughout the day, you can take the pressure off your spine and surrounding muscles. Stretching your legs as much as your back will help as it's all connected. 
  • Get Support: Not ready to give up your favorite shoes? That’s ok, just make sure they’re supportive by adding the right insole

It Might Not Be Your Shoes...

Lastly, your back pain might not be caused by your shoes at all…you might just be out of alignment. If you find that your back is hurting no matter the type of shoes you are wearing, you should test your alignment. Your posture, your activities, and how much and how little you sit can all contribute to misalignment which can lead to back pain. 
So make sure your shoes are supportive and that you’re aligned, active, and healthy…then, bust out your favorite shoes and strut your way through summer. 

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience persistent pain, consult your healthcare provider.


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