Summer footwear, although light and comfortable can lead to low back pain. Individuals with low back pain conditions/issues should opt for custom flip-flops or sandals. A few tips on how to choose the right summer footwear and avoid back pain. With the temperature going up we’re all ready to take out the shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops or sandals. That’s when back pain can flare-up.
There are a variety of things that can generate back pain like improper posture, muscle spasms, and various medical issues. However, everyday shoe choices can also impact the spine and cause back pain. NCBI studies backed by podiatrists have found that unstable shoes, e.g., cheap flip-flops, and sandals can cause low back pain. �
Improper footwear allows biomechanical abnormalities affecting the feet to be compounded and worsened. This leads to increased pain in the knees, hips, and lower back. Accurately fitted shoes and orthotics are some of the best footwear for lower back pain. While flip-flops and sandals unless they are orthotic based offer little to no support.
Summer Footwear Back Pain
Like any type of mechanical system, if there is something wrong in one area, other problem issues begin to arise in other areas. It is the same with the body. If there is an issue with the feet it can affect the knees and hips, rising up to the spine causing back pain.
Summer shoes can worsen any of these underlying issues that often individuals don’t even know they had until they see a doctor for their back pain. This usually begins with the foot type. Those with flat feet tend to force the muscles and tendons in the feet to work more leading to tendinitis.
Arches that have fallen or dropped and remain unsupported can lead to arthritis development in the knees and the wearing down of the medial meniscus. Knees that do not function properly place added stress on the hips and lower back. This can lead to disc degeneration of the intervertebral discs. �
Foot Arch Type
Anatomical anomalies like fallen arches/flat feet and high arches can cause back pain differently. Hyperpronation happens in flat feet causing the arches to collapse. This places more pressure on the inside of the legs and knees, which creates more imbalance in the hips and low back. �
Hyper supination happens in high-arched feet causing the arches to rise. This places the pressure on the outside of the legs and knees, leading to muscle imbalances on the outside of the legs along with the hips and low back. Wearing unsupportive shoes like flip-flops, sandals, and heels for a long time, can cause back pain or make an existing condition worse. �
Either flat feet or high-arched feet left untreated can lead to long-term injuries and extended/over wear and tear of the spine’s vertebrae and intervertebral discs. Summer footwear choices can influence discomfort and back pain.
The Right Shoes
Summer footwear that doesn’t generate back pain doesn’t mean that you have to throw out the flip-flops. Look for shoes or flip-flops that are highly durable, sturdy, that don’t bend in the middle, and only at the toes.
For those with flat feet look for sufficient arch support to prevent hyperpronation. Pay attention to the details of the shoes/flip-flops/sandals. For example, added cushion, or ankle support could mean the difference between pain and relief. There are sandals that have ankle straps to keep the feet in place. This prevents the feet from slipping out, provides better stability during walks, and can help prevent tendinitis. �
It is better to avoid anything with a heel, especially sandals or flip-flops that have a heel/high lift. These force the individual to shift their center of gravity forward forcing the arching of the spine when standing. This position definitely contributes to back pain.
Customized flip-flops or sandals that won�t cause any back pain are available with the help of a podiatrist or a chiropractor that helps and works with podiatrists. 3D-scans can be done to make fully-customized flip-flops that support the arches based on the scan. �
Excessive Foot Pronation and Custom Foot Orthotics
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