How Summer Footwear Can Cause Back Pain

summer footwear and back pain
summer footwear and back pain

Last summer, my friend Julie was excited to spend her vacation exploring the beautiful beaches and vibrant streets of Southern California. She packed her suitcase with all her summer essentials, including her favorite flip-flops and trendy flat sandals. A week into her trip, Julie started to notice a dull, persistent ache in her lower back. By the end of her vacation, the pain had become so intense that it was hard for her to enjoy the last few days of her getaway.

Julie’s experience isn’t unique. Many of us switch to lighter, more casual footwear during the summer, not realizing how it can impact our back health.

In this blog, we’ll explore the connection between summer footwear and back pain. I’ll share insights on how your shoe choices can affect your posture and back, along with tips on selecting better footwear options to keep you comfortable and pain-free. Let’s dive in and make sure your summer adventures don’t end in back pain!

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How Summer Footwear Can Affect Your Back

Studies suggest that summer footwear like flip-flops, sandals, and flat shoes are popular choices because they’re light and airy, perfect for warm weather. However, these types of shoes often lack the necessary support for your feet.

When you wear shoes without proper arch support, your feet can flatten more than they should, leading to a chain reaction of poor posture and misalignment throughout your body. This lack of support can strain your back muscles and contribute to pain over time.

The Importance of Proper Arch Support

a pair of orthopedic insoles

Good arch support is crucial for maintaining proper posture and preventing back pain.

Your arches act as natural shock absorbers, distributing the impact of your steps evenly across your feet and up through your body. Summer footwear like flip-flops and flat sandals usually don’t provide this support, causing your feet to roll inward (a condition known as overpronation).

This overpronation can lead to increased stress on your ankles, knees, hips, and ultimately, your lower back.

The Role of Cushioning and Shock Absorption

Another important factor in preventing back pain is the cushioning and shock absorption provided by your footwear.

Shoes with adequate cushioning help reduce the impact on your spine with each step you take.

Many summer shoes lack proper cushioning, which means your body absorbs more shock, leading to discomfort and pain. When choosing summer footwear, it’s essential to look for options with cushioned soles that can help protect your back.

Choosing the Right Summer Footwear

So, how do you choose the right summer footwear to protect your back? Here are some practical tips:

  • Look for shoes with good arch support: This helps maintain the natural alignment of your feet and reduces the risk of overpronation.
  • Opt for footwear with cushioned soles: Cushioning helps absorb shock and reduces the impact on your spine.
  • Avoid completely flat shoes and flip-flops for extended wear: These shoes typically lack support and cushioning.
  • Consider sandals with adjustable straps: These provide a better fit and more support, reducing the strain on your feet and back.

If you’re already experiencing back pain from poor footwear choices, here are a few exercises to help alleviate the pain:

  • Calf Stretches: Stand facing a wall, place your hands on the wall, and step one foot back, keeping it straight. Bend your front knee and press your back heel into the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
  • Hamstring Stretches: Sit on the edge of a chair with one leg extended straight out in front of you. Reach towards your toes while keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
  • Lower Back Stretches: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently pull one knee towards your chest and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Strengthening exercises like planks and bridges can also help support your back by building the muscles that maintain proper posture and alignment.

Ready to Get Help With Physical Therapy?

If you’re struggling with back pain this summer – we’re here to help!

We can work with you to provide specialized exercises, hands-on therapy, and tailored advice to help alleviate the pain long-term and get you back to doing the things you enjoy.

To find out more, click here to fill out our quick form and tell us what’s going on and our team will be in touch. Or, you can give us a call: (949) 569-5847.

Andrew Vertson

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