Picking the Right Shoe Can be a Life-Changing Experience

By Sara Butler

Your Shoes and You

You’ve heard the expression about walking in another man’s shoes, right? Well, you may learn a few more lessons than you anticipate by taking the expression seriously, especially if those shoes are uncomfortable, ill-fitting, and not as supportive as they should be.

At The Joint Chiropractic, the chiropractors meet a lot of patients with complaints of back pain. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek out medical care. While there are many reasons you may experience back pain, several of the issues causing your discomfort can be traced back to your body mechanics. Do you sit at your desk all day, slumped over your computer? Do you have a supportive chair? Do you exercise to help keep your back healthy? These are questions that have likely occurred to you over the years, but if you’re experiencing back pain, you may be overlooking one of the most common culprits -- your shoes.

That’s right, your shoes may be the problem! Here is some advice from the chiropractors at The Joint to help you find the right shoe to help keep your spine healthy -- and to ensure that anyone who has to walk a mile in your shoes does it comfortably and well-supported.

Shoes Cause Back Pain -- Really?

I know what you’re thinking -- in order to find supportive shoes, you’ve got to take a few tips from your blue-haired grandmother in the fashion department. Stop it! There’s no need to raid your grandmother’s closet any time soon in order to find the right shoes for you.

It is true that the shoes you choose have a huge impact on your body. The way your foot moves in the shoe when you walk, jog, stand, and move in general impacts how the rest of your body follows. Most people don’t automatically think of their feet as the source of their back pain since they’re so far removed from the problem area. Rest assured that your feet can be the root cause of the pain you experience. More specifically, feet that are in the wrong kind of shoe can be the source of your back pain.

What the Right Shoe Does for You!

President John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Replace “country” with “back pain” and you have some epic advice on your hands.

Endeavoring to find the right shoe is the first step you can take to eradicate back pain in your life. And who knows? World peace may not be far behind -- it’s almost as if it’s your civic duty. To choose the right shoes, start by:

  • Finding the right cushion - A good shoe will cushion the foot, reducing the force exerted on your joints when you walk. A good cushion will help your body to adapt to, and deal with, the force placed on it each day.
  • Finding the right support - Remember, your shoes do more than look good, they also help to keep your body in alignment. That means you need to find a shoe that helps your foot stay in alignment when it touches the ground.
  • Finding comfort - Some shoes are too stiff, some are too soft, so take a page out of Goldilocks’ playbook and find the shoes that are just right. The shoes you choose should be comfortable from the moment you put them on. That whole “break-in” period people talk about? Skip it. It’s not needed if the shoes are right.
  • Finding the right fit - To find a shoe that fits you right, shop for shoes at the end of the day and make sure you have at least a centimeter or two of room between your toes and the end of the shoe, with the proper width and length to fit your foot snugly, but never tightly.

A Few More Tips

To find the perfect shoe for you, make sure to:

  • Try shoes on with the same socks you wear every day
  • Have your feet professionally measured to ensure you buy the right size
  • Check to ensure your toes can wiggle when the shoes are on; those little piggies need room to move when walking or running
  • Find a shoe with a snug-fitting heel so your foot stays securely in the shoe when you move
  • Check the soles to make sure they grip on both hard and soft surfaces
  • If you participate in a sport, it’s a good idea to have specific shoes for that activity.
  • Avoid high heels and flats, they’re both bad for your back

Remember, each shoe has been specifically designed to help protect your feet and your body from the stresses placed upon them during an activity.

If you need help finding the right kind of shoe for you, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint. They can evaluate your body mechanics and help you decide what kind of shoe can help you keep your body -- and your back -- healthy and pain-free!

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