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The two worst forms of footwear for people with back pain

High heels and flip flops. This is a bottom-up problem: by not providing adequate support for your feet, the instability ripples through the legs and affects the spine, especially the lower back. 

  • The higher the heel, the more accentuated the arch in your lower back, straining the muscles of the lower back in the process.
  • Flip flops don't anchor your feet, instead letting them slide around in the footbed. This means that the weight of your body is being thrown about, exacerbating conditions such as sciatica. 

From a chiropractor's perspective, high heels and flip flops both fit under the category of flimsy footwear. They may serve an intermediary purpose, but they should never be your go-to shoe. 

Flip flops and high heels have the highest coincidence of back pain among footwear

Your footwear has a direct impact on your back pain: flip flops provide no cushion or shock absorption, allowing impact from the foot to travel directly to the vertebrae; high heels force the muscles of your back to work harder and are more likely to cause injury from falling. These forces contribute to spinal misalignment and the development of degenerative conditions including herniated discs and sciatica. Here are some alternative proposals for footwear that fills the same function without harming the spine to the same degree.

  • For flip-flop addicts, Crocs and sport sandals with straps are a better alternative. 
  • For high heel lovers, wedges provide the same stylish lift without destabilizing the foot and forcing the back to work quite as hard. 

Improving spinal health habits in small ways

No matter what footwear you choose, there are always ways you can improve your spinal health habits. From mixing up your shoes, to stretching before wearing high heels, to avoiding wearing them for long periods of time, it will always benefit your back if you keep an eye on how you are wearing your shoes. Footwear is a microcosmic example of how we make large changes in your spinal health habits. We can help undo the damage that flip-flops and high heels have caused your spine. If you are interested in improving your spinal health from the bottom-up or the top-down, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.