How Does Footwear Affect the Back?

Chances are you’ve owned a pair or two of uncomfortable shoes in your lifetime. Wearing these shoes can lead to great pains in your feet, and even cause more severe foot problems down the line. However, did you know that shoes can also affect your back? Many people who constantly wear shoes such as high heels or shoes that are too narrow end up with chronic pain in their lower back due to the way that the shoes affect their entire body. If you are wondering how your shoes can cause pain all the way up in your back, read on below for more information.

Center of Balance

Shoes such as high heels can cause the lumbar curve of your back to be greatly affected. Because there is an increased amount of weight put on the toes when wearing high heels, the center of balance of your body becomes unnatural, causing you to walk with a different gait and stride length. All of this causes you to tense up the lower muscles in your back in order to remain balanced, and that can cause pain and soreness for days after you wear high heels.


High heels also affect the ankle joint when they are being worn. Putting more weight on the ankle rather than the heel causes a different type of mechanics when walking, and in the long run this can lead to lower back pain. There is increased flexion on the knee and ankle joints when wearing high heels. To compensate for this, many people curve their spine in a different way, activating muscles that they don’t normally use when they are walking. This increased curvature is unnatural and can lead to muscle sprain and overuse. A stronger back can help prevent some of the soreness but this is not the way that humans are meant to be walking.


People who wear high heels over a long period of time are also susceptible to disrupting the arches of their feet. The arches are responsible for distributing the body weight evenly to the ground so that people can have more balance and functionality while they walk. When these are affected to the extent that high heels do, the lumbar muscle must be activated more in order to maintain a proper posture and control of the body. This can lead to extra tension and misuse of muscles while wearing the shoes.

There are many different ways that high heels or small shoes affect the lower back, even if it is not noticed immediately. Because they require overcompensation and the activation of abnormal muscles, wearing them can lead to cramps, pains, soreness, and even permanent damage. There are altered high heels available that help to distribute the weight more evenly, but they should still be worn sparingly and only by people with healthy backs and feet. The best option, however, is to wear flats or athletic wear and avoid high heels entirely.

If you’ve ever experienced discomfort or pain from your choice of footwear, you’re not alone. Uncomfortable shoes can cause problems that extend beyond your feet and affect your entire body, including your lower back. The way you walk, your posture, and even the muscles you use can be greatly impacted by the shoes you wear. If you’re curious about how your footwear might be contributing to back pain, we encourage you to learn more.

Understanding how footwear can influence your back health is essential for making informed choices. It’s not just about feeling comfortable in your shoes; it’s about safeguarding the health of your entire body. If you’d like to explore this topic further or have concerns about your own footwear choices, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our experts. We can provide personalized guidance and recommendations to help you maintain a healthy back and overall well-being.

Don’t wait for the aches and pains to worsen; take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free you. Contact Cella Foot & Ankle Specialty today to set up an appointment and discover how the right footwear choices can make a world of difference. Your back will thank you!

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