Few of us are strangers to lower back pain. In fact, as many as 80 percent of people have back pain at some point in their lives and half of all workers experience back pain symptoms each year, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Not only that, but back pain ranks as the number two reason people see a doctor.
Sometimes the cause is obvious, like a sports injury or bending the wrong way. Other times, however, the reason might be surprising, like when the culprit turns out to be your feet and improper footwear.
When you walk, you put the force of as much as five times your body weight on each foot. If the foot doesn't absorb that shock or redistribute it properly, you can develop problems elsewhere. Often this occurs in people who have " flat feet," because the arch appears to be flattened and closer to the ground.
Another major cause for back pain is hyper-pronation.
Pronation refers to an inward motion of the foot, which results in collapsed arches and flat feet when you stand, walk or run.
There should be mild pronation with walking and running. It is a necessary motion that allows for the dynamic action of the foot and ankle to reduce impacts on the body with walking and running.
The problem arises when there is excessive or over-pronation, or hyper-pronation.
The excessive inward motion of the foot that accompanies hyper-pronation is causing the leg to turn inward as well, affecting the knees, hip and lower back posture. This might be compounded when excessive foot pronation occurs only on one foot, since when that foot pronates it shortens the effective length of the leg (the distance between the hip and the floor).
Additionally, because of the excessive foot motion, the muscles on the inside of your leg must work harder to pull your foot up.
Another foot problem is hyper-supination, where the feet are rolled outward with what seems to be a high arch. Hyper-supination causes also outward rotation of the legs and extra stress to muscles on the outside of the leg.
Either hyper-pronation or hyper-supination also can lead to problems in the hips and lower back.
When you experience pain and you are diagnosed with a dysfunction in the foot or ankle, it may be possible to reduce the knee and hip pain by improving foot function, using proper footwear and orthotic insoles.
What is The Right Shoe Regimen for back pain?
Healthy shoes play a significant role in back pain management. Here are the main features to look for:
If the back pain is due to your foot function shoes with orthotic insoles that provide good arch support can prevent hyper-pronation and can help align your legs and back properly.
Shoes with good cushioning properties can reduce the impacts on the body and back when the foot hits the ground during walking and running.
High heels that are over two inches high may increase the risk of low back pain, as they might impair back posture.
However, not all flat shoes are good for your feet. Flats that do not provide any arch support may compromise legs and back posture.
Get the right fit. Tight shoes can aggravate foot pain, and cause gait compensation. Oversized shoes can also impair gait.
Replace your shoes as needed. When the supporting cushioning becomes worn, it is no longer helpful.