The Southeastern Spine Institute

The Best Shoes to Prevent Back Surgery

Shoes designed for comfort can keep you out of the hospital.

If you feel a pain in your neck or your lower back, you may think you pulled a muscle — or worse, developed a slipped disc. Your pain, however, may have started in your feet. Yes, from the very tips of your toes to the curve of your arch, your feet play a major role in how your back feels. So start at your feet to prevent back surgery of any kind.

Just as cracks in the foundation of your house are a precursor to major structural issues, problems with your feet, the foundation of your whole body, often foretell back pain and subsequent surgery. Since your feet are so very vital to your skeletal health, it’s a wonder that so many people wear shoes that actually cause pain and can lead to serious back problems. Yet, it’s common.

In Perfect Alignment

When your feet are misaligned, the structure of your spinal cord is thrown off balance. An imbalance in how you place your feet can throw off your spinal column’s alignment and lead to pain. When you have an issue with your feet, such as low arches or weak ankles, the wrong footwear exacerbates an already lurking problem. And more often than not, certain types of footwear actually create foot abnormalities, leading to back pain.

The worse culprits are not the fashion industry stylists, but consumers who buy into the fashion mandates. Otherwise intelligent people take chances with their feet by following the current trends with no thought toward the potential harm. Prevent back surgery by first avoiding these foot disasters:

  • Flip flops
  • Stiletto heels
  • Pointy toes
  • Ultra-high heels
  • Ballet flats
  • Platform shoes
  • Wrong sized shoes

Instead, purchase shoes that support your arches and leave sufficient room for your entire foot. Ideally, shoes that’ll help you prevent back surgery have:

  • Adequate arch support
  • Wide or chunky heels that are fewer than two inches high
  • Flexibility at the toe box

Let’s Get Personal

Whether you have medical problems with your feet that need addressing — such as a hammer toe, flat feet or plantar fasciitis — you and your back may benefit from custom orthotics or specialized footwear. Inserts that target your problem areas put your feet into better alignment. Inserts also make it easy to move from shoe to shoe. And they not only help you prevent back surgery, they may provide you with additional energy while reducing your back and leg discomfort.

Specialized, fitted footwear, such as those recommended by your podiatrist and supported by your spine physicians, can be a little more expensive and restricting, but may be worth the price. These shoes range anywhere from $150 to $200, but they provide you with the support and structure ideal for your body and your back.

Your feet form the foundation for your body weight. Take the first step towards a healthy back by wearing the shoes that are right for you. You may not make the latest fashion magazine, but you literally will be taking steps to prevent back surgery, back pain and the limitations that go with it. Fashionistas can’t keep you out of the hospital, but orthotic inserts can.