By Jackie Manning, ARNP, Strive! Health and Rehabilitation
Is there a relationship between shoe choice and chronic pain?
It can certainly be difficult to connect the dots between those adorable shoes that complete your ensemble and the misery you feel within minutes of walking in them!
Chronic knee and back pain that is seemingly getting worse by the day, could be related to your shoe choice. As the base of our skeletal system, if the position of the feet is changed, the alignment of the entire body could be changed along with it. Those who suffer from chronic back pain know all too well, if the spine happens to bend in the wrong way, it can irritate the nerves and cause more pain. This also tells us that choosing the right shoes may be the key to soothing neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and other aches in the feet, knees, and back.
For chronic pain conditions, it’s best to start by looking at the worst choices. Heels! Though pretty and glamorous, high heels are simply NOT the best footwear choice.
For one, their narrow shape compresses the feet into a smaller space. Even worse, heels push the legs and hips forward, causing the wearer to compensate by leaning back for balance. The higher the heel, the more strain on the knees and lower back.
On the flip side, not all is sunshine and roses with flat shoes. Although a slightly better choice than heels, flats and flip flops just don’t offer enough cushion, and without cushion to absorb the shock, the knees take on a lot of the force generated by every step. Flip flops can also strain joints in the foot and exacerbate pain symptoms in the long run. For short periods of time, these fun in the fun shoes can be fine. But do be mindful of the time spent in them.
A perfect fit and solid arch support are just as important. And don’t forget the cushion. When choosing the right shoe, remember comfort is key!
So when heading out for your appointment at Strive, remember to choose wisely when determining which shoes will put that pep in your step!