You Love Shoes, But They Don’t Love You Back (or Your Back)

We get it, shoes can be fun! Fashionable shoes for women, trendy dress shoes for men – if you’re into shopping and adding to your collection, finding a flashy new pair can feel like a total win. Except, if you’re wearing shoes that put your leg or feet in an unnatural position, you might be loving fashion at the expense of your body! Here are some tips to keep your body happy (and yes, it might mean more practical shoes or less time in the ones that cause issues)…

High Heels Can Cause Problems

Sure, you might notice how sore your feet are after wearing heels, or that your legs are tired, but that’s just after a long day, right? Wrong! Next time you put on a pair of your favorite killer sandals or dress shoes, look at the position your legs and feet are forced into. Your calves are shortened, while your foot is in a flexed position, with more weight forced onto the ball of your foot instead of being evenly distributed. This can lead to issues like:

  • Tight calf muscles. From being put in an unnaturally shortened position, your calves won’t be as flexible. You may notice this when you try to work out, run, or cycle.
  • Bunions. Wearing shoes with a narrow toe box can contribute to these bony lumps developing over time in those who are prone to them.
  • Knee pain. Guess what, if you aren’t walking with a normal gait, your body will pick up the slack somewhere and it can cause problems.
  • Back pain. Similarly, you can develop back pain after wearing heels for long periods of time. Most heels don’t offer good arch support and with an unnatural gait, your back can pay the price.
  • Shorter Achilles tendon. With your foot raised, your Achilles tendon is shortened by default, which can lead to less flexibility and stability.
  • Ingrown nails. Not the worst of them all, but unappealing and painful, you can also develop ingrown nails from wearing the tight-toe boxes common to many high heels.

Men’s Shoes Are Also to Blame

Men’s dress shoes can also cause a host of problems, depending on the fit and support, such as:

  • Back pain. Without enough support, you can also experience back pain.
  • Knee pain. Similarly, having ill-fitting shoes or those without enough support can also cause knee discomfort.
  • Foot pain. If your shoes are built for aesthetics and not for performance, you may also suffer from physical discomfort while wearing them.

Of course you may need to wear professional attire to work and dressy shoes to events, but being mindful of how your body is affected is important. We’re not saying to give up your dress shoes, but mixing in days with healthier shoes can be an improvement. If you wear heels to work, wear flats out to dinner, or wear a low-rise dress shoe the next day. Similarly, give your feet and legs plenty of time to decompress both without shoes and also with good, supportive shoes. Think of that as your time to relax, recharge, and reinvigorate those tired muscles and tendons in your legs and feet, while taking a load off your knees, hips, and back.

If you’re having persistent pain, discomfort, movement- or other issues, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your physical therapist. A PT is the ideal resource to examine any problems of the musculoskeletal system and work with you to address the cause – even if it means putting your favorite shoes on the shelf for awhile.

Are your shoes just part of a bigger problem? Let the experts at Body One Physical Therapy help. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t waste time suffering when we could be getting you on the road to feeling better – call today!

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