Shoes – a pain in the back!


Although the feet may seem quite a distance away from the back, they can have an influence on back pain. This is down to various factors, such as the way we move our feet when walking, as well as the type of shoes we wear and how much support they offer.

Back pain can be attributed to plenty of sources, you may have overexerted yourself , have an ongoing injury or maybe you sit for most of the day.  However, for many people making sure their shoes fit well, keeping the feet adequately cushioned and provides the right support is definitely a step in the right direction!

Paying attention to your footwear can help prevent back pain caused by shoes, but which shoes are the main culprits of back pain in the first place? Whilst any poorly fitted shoe can cause back pain, the main culprit is high heels!

Any heel with an angle greater than an inch can cause problems not only in the spine but the feet, knees and hips too! This is because wearing high heels shifts the bodyweight forward onto the balls of the feet, adding pressure to the bones and joints. Heels also restrict the range of motion in the foot and can lead to foot problems such as bunions, ingrown toenails, and hammertoe deformities.

Wearing heels regularly may also shorten and tighten the calf muscles, making it difficult to extend the leg and causing the quadriceps to work overtime. This puts a phenomenal amount of stress on the knee joints and can pull the kneecaps out of alignment too!

Wearing heels continuously can cause chronic back soreness, spasms and can even lead to arthritis. So how do you prevent this damage from happening to your body? Well, the obvious solution is don’t wear them! However, if you are not ready to ditch the heels just yet,  try following these tips to minimise your risk of lower back pain:

  • Try not to wear heels for long periods of time
  • Opt for heels with a maximum of two inches
  • Alternate wearing heels with flat shoes to give your back and leg muscles time to recover from the stresses exerted from wearing heels
  • Don’t wear heels with pointed toes, go for round-toed heels as pointed toes can compress and deform the natural shape of the toes.
  • Wear a lower heel. The height of your heel will determine how much weight and pressure you put on the balls of the feet.
  • Make sure your heels fit properly and don’t restrict or cause you to slip and slide inside the shoe.
  • Opt for wider block heels or wedges rather than thin heels that will challenge balance and compromise stability
  • Stretch your calf muscles before wearing heels and throughout the day wherever possible

If you would like some further information, or to speak to a member of our team,  please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or



Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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