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How the Right Shoe Will Support Your Spine

person walkingThe way you walk is a contributing factor to back pain. With each step, your arch acts as a shock absorber. Yet, if your arches are low or high and do not have the proper footwear, back pain is sure to follow. As you look through your shoe collection or go shopping in-store, follow this guide to know how the right shoe will support your spine.

Good Arch Support

To relieve or eliminate back pain, good arch support in your shoe will support how your feet are naturally arched. There’s a simple way to figure out your arch type. Wet your foot and step on a piece of cardboard and see the imprint that’s left behind:

  • For a natural arch, the imprint will fill the middle of your arch halfway. A natural arch supports your body weight and pronates correctly.
  • For a low arch, it will look like a complete footprint. Also known as flat feet, a low arch can affect the alignment of your body and result in hip, knee, and ankle pain.
  • For a high arch, it will show very little of the arch. Also known as cavus feet, a high arch places excess weight on the ball and heel of your foot, which can be painful to your hips and lower back.

Adequate Cushioning

When choosing shoes, make sure they provide the cushioning necessary to absorb the impact of your feet hitting the ground. Good shoes reduce the amount of stress that could induce back pain. The sole typically has three parts:

  • The outsole: the bottom of the shoe, which is in contact with the ground.
  • The insole: the cushion inside the shoe, which you can replace as needed to provide comfort.
  • The midsole: padding in-between the two layers for shock absorption, flex support, and cushioning.

For a high arch, wear a softer midsole, and for low arches, a firmer midsole is recommended for more motion control. You can determine if the midsole is soft or firm by pushing it down with your thumbnail.

Prescription Orthotics or Special Insoles

Sometimes, extra cushioning is needed to keep feet comfortable. Prescription orthotics are an easy solution to relieve back pain and are especially effective for those with low or high arches. Are you looking for the top specialized insoles available? The American Podiatric Medical Association has a list of foot care products that received their seal of approval.

The Truth About High Heels

As you stand in front of your closet and decide what to wear, you may be wondering if you should wear high heels for an elegant event. Yet, high heels position your body in a way that moves your chest forward and puts your spine out of alignment. This causes your entire posture to change and leads to back pain. If you do wear high heels, it’s recommended to keep them under two inches in height and to not wear them for long periods of time.

Why Flip Flops Are a Flop

So, what about flip flops for running errands? It’s best not to wear them for long either since they do not provide much-needed support. Wearing flip flops causes you to unnaturally shorten your stride and curl your toes to keep them from falling off. When possible, opt for tennis shoes, as they are specifically designed for stability, cushioning, and all arch types.

Choose the Right Fit

You’re at the mall and see a great pair of shoes on sale. 70% off! When you try them on, however, they’re a bit snug. Resist the urge to tell yourself they just need to be broken in. It’s critical to wear shoes that fit correctly, or you risk hurting your back. While at the store, check the insoles, see if any seams would be bothersome, and try them out by walking on both hard and soft surfaces. These steps will help you find the right pair for you.

Have A Chiropractic Adjustment

If you wear the proper shoes and still experience back pain, visit our team of doctors at The Wellness Connection. They offer chiropractic adjustments to put spinal joints back in alignment and reduce stress on your body. To get started, contact us to schedule an appointment!

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