“Oh, my feet hurt, I cannot go one step further!” This phrase sounds familiar to you, isn’t it? Your shoes contribute to your daily well-being only if you have chosen them adapted to your needs. Otherwise, they can cause lesions and accentuate pathologies. And even lead to complications for other parts of the body such as the knees and back.

The link – Spine & Shoes

The most common foot problems initiated by bad shoes include Achilles Tendonitis, Plantar Fasciitis, Morton’s Neuroma, Callosities, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and traditional bulbs. However, these plantar problems are not the only undesirable effects of wearing bad shoes. On the contrary, the use of a deficient shoe can also cause significant damage to your spine. Shoes that do not provide adequate support can misalign your entire body. When the foot is held in the wrong position, excessive force is exerted on the knee joint while standing, walking or running. Very often, this knee receives a disproportionate amount of force relative to the other knee, placing it in a wound position. A misalignment of the knee joints then triggers a change in the pelvic position, the base of our spine. Therefore, the spine itself is then affected and can eventually lead to a condition called vertebral subluxation.

High heels today, lumbar pain tomorrow

The high heels are at the top of the list of the type of shoes to avoid. It is confirmed, study after study, that high heels disrupt the natural position of the body and lead to long-term pain. One study showed that barefoot versus high heels showed that high heels resulted in a rounding of the lower back, a forward tilt of the pelvis, and anterior displacement of the head and thoracic spine ( Spine 1988; 13: 542-7.) . Some research also indicates that high heels increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, and spine (Annals of Internal Mediane 2000: 133: 726). Despite the dangers of high heels, some women still refuse to abandon them. If you belong to this category, limit at least the number of hours per month you wear your high heels and choose a more comfortable padded shoe for outdoor uses or public meetings. Wear your high-heeled shoes only on days when you know you will not be able to walk a lot and bring a pair of walking shoes for your lunchtime walk. You could even use them by going and coming back from the office, on the bus or in your car.

Men and high heels?

High heels are not just a women’s affair. The half-inch to three-quarter-inch platform soles of many men’s dress shoes also predispose men to serious injury. You may think that high heels should be left alone in the closet. In fact, men’s big shoes are no less dangerous than stiletto heels. A report revealed that wide heels can cause more serious changes in posture than their narrower cousins, which can lead to a greater risk of arthritis of the knee and hip (The Lancet 2001).

Things to consider when shopping for sports shoes

If you train several days a week, change your shoes every six months. If you have traveled more than 800 kilometers with your shoes, it’s time to invest in a new pair. And if you ever have an imbalance in your posture, then you should probably consider changing your shoes more often.

1- Make measure your BOTH feet (in standing and not sitting), every time you buy a new pair of shoes. If your feet are different sizes, always buy the largest size.

2- Buy the shoes immediately after a workout or in the evening when the feet are swollen. Wear the same pair of socks that you wear to do the activity in question.

3- Keep the pair of shoes in your feet for at least 20 minutes before buying them. Walk, run, jump into the store to simulate the activity you practice.

4- Consider the height of the arch, the padding, the support, its ability to breathe, the material used and the flexibility of the shoe.

5- Make sure you have at least the equivalent of one inch of space from the big toe to the heel. Ask the seller to check this measure for you. If you bend to check this measurement, the position of the foot in the shoe will change.

6- Choose the type of shoes that suits the activity you practice.

7- Contact a store specialized in sports shoes that offer the services at no cost of an injury prevention specialist.

8- If you have weak ankles, look for shoes with neoprene inserts that will act as elastic bandages to hold the ankles.

9- Take into account the laces (the curious little round laces found on hiking boots) that prevent pressure points by also distributing the tension. Although these laces move faster when used with new loops or fabric eyelets, they slide more easily through the buckle of the shoe and more evenly distribute the pressure on the toe of the foot than the flat laces ( Physician and Sports Mediane 1997: 25).

10- If the sport you practice e.g. football, requires cleats, look for shorter cleats. Longer crampons can immobilize your foot in the ground causing excessive knee twisting and injury. Reviews from users are very important.  Always consider soccer shoes reviews before buying cleats.

11- Forget the flafla. Do not be influenced by beautiful packaging or advertising campaigns. Instead, choose shoes from companies that pay money for research and development and not advertising.

12- If the sport you practice requires heavy equipment, such as football equipment or a long hiking bag, be sure to wear this equipment when trying on a pair of shoes.

Arch and shoes

Foot problems occur when the arch is too high or too low. Fortunately, changes can be made to the shoes in order to overcome the conditions associated with abnormal plantar arches. For example, people with too high arching enjoy extra padding while others with a low arch require stiffer shoes that limit movement preventing the foot from rolling inward.

Size of the shoes

Women are 9 times more likely than men to develop foot problems caused by bad shoes. This is mainly due to high heels as well as attempting to enter a new foot in a shoe size six. It does not work for Cinderella’s half-sisters and it will not work for you either! When talking about shoe size, put your pride aside. Choose the size that suits you and not the size you would like to wear. When shopping for shoes, ask to try on the size that you usually wear plus a half-size or an upper and lower size. Try the shoes without looking at the label and choose the pair in which you are most comfortable regardless of size.