Prevent back pain with the right summer footwear.

Prevent back pain with the right summer footwear.

Sandals and flip flops are huge this summer. The ugly secret though is that for most of our patients, cheap flat sandals will cause your back to ache because of the way you are built. Most people with back problems have foot problems as the often unrecognized cause. Since your children are most likely built like you, they likely walk like you as well. If you have back problems, you should never buy sandals without arches. I will show you examples of what you should and should not buy. A good sandal is worth the extra cash if you have to do any extended walking. Your feet, knees, lower and upper back will thank you (trust me on this).

Reef Crocs

Orthoheel Kinetic

Reef Sandals are a great example of a terrific design, with a great arch and they look good too. Many local stores carry them and they are available on line. Notice these have terrific arches. Also to the right are Croc’s which are a hot fashion item this year and they have good arches too. Below them are a newer design under the name ORTHAHEEL® KINETIC which I have found at Roadrunner Sports in North Brunswick. These are wonderful because of their deep foot bed, good heel stabilization with the heel cup. If you have back problems, this one should be on your short list.

Recently, I found a store that is in the local malls. They have a great selection of footwear that is well designed, looks great and has a proper foot bed for those of us who are built asymmetrically. You can check out their web site at http://www.thewalkingcompany.com. Another local chain that has quite a few really good sandals is DSW. Their local store is on Rt. 1 near Woodbridge Mall. With many choices, there is no reason you should settle for less than the best summer footwear that also looks great and fits your lifestyle.

Note below are examples of what not to buy. While these flip flops are inexpensive at Old Navy, they are not appropriate for anyone with foot problems that causes back pain. People without foot issues can wear these with minimal consequences. To the right are a typical women’s sandal again without arches. These should be avoided by anyone with lower back problems. Most ladies will buy sandals if they are attractive, however, many better sandals are now available with arches. Limit your search to those with arches.

Old Navy

There are many other companies that make well designed flip flops which are commonly sold at Nordstrom’s, Sports Authority, Roadrunner Sports, Dicks, DSW, Eastern Mountain Sports and have names such as Nike, Teva, ORTHAHEEL® KINETIC to name a few. Good supportive sandals of all types are in style this year, flat cheap unsupportive ones are out of style.

Lastly, don’t forget to put your arches in your regular shoes and sneakers, especially when playing sports. Your back will thank you. We are recommending the Powerstep line as well as Superfeet, that gives us the flexibility to fit most gait related issues with the proper support. Of course, for people who are more severe in their asymmetry issues, custom can be a better value of their average 5 year lifespan if you need to replace your inserts at less than 6 month intervals due to excessive wear.

One more thing, don’t forget about your chiropractic care needs. Sandals do not solve all of our problems (:

What do you think? As always, I value your opinion.