Individuals on their feet all day regularly experience back problems and discomfort symptoms. Wearing unstable shoes that are flat with no arch support with little or no shock absorption or the wrong type of shoe for gait can cause biomechanical issues that can cause back discomfort and lead to chronic back pain. Athletic running shoes are recommended for lower back pain because they are well-cushioned and designed to help absorb the impact of walking or running. They also have proper arch and ankle support to maintain foot position for correct posture. What to look for in running shoes to help relieve back pain and keep the back injury free?
Athletic Running Shoes
Shoes that don’t have enough cushioning can cause inflammation in the back muscles from the lack of impact absorption. The best athletic running shoes for back pain relief are stiff, supportive, and well-cushioned. When selecting shoes for back pain, the most important factors to consider are:
- Stiffness of the sole.
- Quality support and cushioning.
- Proper and comfortable fit.
- Athletic running shoes are available in various types of support for all foot types.
- Consider foot structure and gait when selecting shoes.
- Flat and high-arched feet can cause muscle imbalances, which increase pressure on the back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet.
- Consider motion-control shoes for flat feet or overpronation.
- Proper arch support ensures that the feet stay aligned and takes the pressure off the knees, hips, and back, decreasing the risk of inflammation.
- Look for a shoe with a rigid sole and solid heel cup for optimal foot and ankle support.
- Make sure that the shoe fits the individual foot and gait type.
- If you can twist the shoe or fold the shoe in half, there is insufficient support in the arch.
- For example, overpronation requires stability with added medial support to prevent arch collapse.
- Absorbs shock and vibration.
- Reduces the impact of each step.
- Helps alleviate back pressure.
- A well-cushioned shoe provides comfort and support.
- Wearing shoes without adequate cushioning makes the back muscles absorb the shock every time a foot takes a step.
Proper shoes need to fit properly.
- Shoes that are too tight could cause painful rubbing and foot blisters.
- The irritation can force an awkward and unhealthy gait, worsening the back strain and pain.
- Shoes that are too large could cause the feet to slip and slide, increasing the risk of injury.
- Shoes with a wide toe box or in wide sizes can be an option to prevent cramped toes.
- The correct fit will ensure the feet are properly aligned and prevent injury.
- Shoes with excellent traction will keep the body stable and prevent slipping.
- Look for grip rubber outsoles with a textured pattern.
- The grooves and patterns increase friction and provide grip to the person while walking or running.
- Wearing worn-out shoes with inadequate cushioning and shock absorption can increase the risk of back problems.
- Depending on the uses, shoes can wear out in three months or less.
- It is important to replace shoes when the cushioning wears out.
- Look for high-quality material that doesn’t wear down quickly.
Improve Whole-Body Wellness
Anderson, Jennifer, et al. “A narrative review of musculoskeletal problems of the lower extremity and back associated with the interface between occupational tasks, feet, footwear, and flooring.” Musculoskeletal care vol. 15,4 (2017): 304-315. doi:10.1002/msc.1174
American Podiatric Medical Association. Which Running Shoe is Right for You?
Hong, Wei-Hsien, et al. “Effect of shoe heel height and total-contact insert on muscle loading and foot stability while walking.” Foot & ankle international vol. 34,2 (2013): 273-81. doi:10.1177/1071100712465817
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Back Pain: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Steps to Take.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet.
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