The Southeastern Spine Institute

Back pain is one of the most common causes of doctor visits. Your back can start hurting from constant heavy lifting, a sudden jolting movement or a number of medical conditions. But you can take steps to avoid back pain by improving your posture and biomechanics.

Biomechanics is the study of how your body moves. Your muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments work in harmony. When you injure any part of your body, especially your legs or feet, the injury often affects your back as well. Proper shoes, with support and balance, not only feel comfortable, but also protect your back.

What to Look for in Your Next Pair of Sandals

But what about during the summer when you wear sandals? Believe it or not, there are sandals that protect your back as well as shoes. But these sandals aren’t your average flip-flops.

Flip-flops have little padding and no support. They also affect your footing and can lead to trips and falls. Sandals that have too much padding can alter your natural gait, causing lower back pain. The solution comes from the newest sandals on the market. The characteristics of the best sandals include:

  • Arch support, to keep your feet comfortable and help you move naturally
  • Overall fit, which matches your foot size and width while fitting securely
  • Rigidity, as sandals that are too rigid fight the natural flexibility of your feet

Protect Your Back with Proper Sandals

Roughly 80 percent of Americans have back pain in their lifetimes, according to the American Chiropractic Association. When your gait isn’t balanced because of an injury or due to the shoes you’re wearing, you may feel back pain. Pick sandals that are comfortable and fit properly. A few popular models on the market include:

  • Vionic Amber Open-Toe Synthetic Slingback Sandal. This women’s sandal offers terrific arch support, and since the straps are fully adjustable, you can fit the sandals tightly against your feet for a feeling of total support. Because the sandal’s heel isn’t hard, it absorbs the impact when you walk. It’s also surprisingly stylish.
  • Crocs Classic Clog. Lightweight and waterproof, the unisex Classic Clog contains many positive features for both your feet and back. The non-skid soles prevent falls, the well-ventilated design keeps your feet healthy and the adjustable strap promotes support and balance. Just make sure you get the right size so they are snug and not flopping as you walk.
  • KEEN Rose Sandal. This closed-toe sport sandal features a cushioned heel for support and a Velcro strap for a secure fit. The sole, as you expect in a sport sandal, is heavy-duty and non-slip. But the real advantage is its cushioning, which prevents shocks that can cause back pain.
  • Vionic Orthaheel Women’s Tide II Sandals. These lightweight women’s sandals look like flip-flops, but they’re so much more. The cleverly designed soles provide stability and support for your feet, relieving any pain in your feet, legs and low back. If you already have back pain, these sandals were made for you.
  • Birkenstock Arizona. These sandals for men and women are classics of simplicity. You can slip them on and off, and yet they’re comfortable and supportive. The footbed molds to your soles, providing valuable support for your feet and back.
  • Mephisto Helen Thong. Another women’s sandal, this one has anti-slip soles and an adjustable strap for a perfect fit. In fact, these sandals help your gait if you have overpronating feet — feet that turn inward. Stylish and comfortable, these sandals protect your back, too.

Call the medical professionals at the Southeastern Spine Institute if you feel any back pain. But to avoid pain and protect your back, the best advice may be to buy a new pair of sandals. Talk to your doctor for a recommendation.