ARE YOUR SHOES WRECKING YOUR POSTURE?
We often don’t think about our posture until something is wrong. Bad posture makes itself known with pain in the back, hips, neck, and more. This pain can range from dull to sharp in nature - from sore, awkwardly twisted muscles and ligaments, to a pinched nerve in the spine if the pain is severe.
Long days at an office desk can affect your posture. Injury, overuse, or improper form during exercises like lifting weights can also impact your posture as well.
Bad posture begins in childhood and seems to just become worse and worse with age. Good posture implies that the spine is in balance and all of the extremities are functioning at their optimal levels. Too much bend or twist in the spine at any given point will cause a cascade of functional problems.
HOW POOR POSTURE AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH
Bad posture is defined as a misalignment in your spine. This misalignment can lead to pinched nerves and other pain that affects your day to day life. Usually, bad posture leads to a chain of events beginning with muscular dysfunction and ligaments being unbalanced.
Muscle is the largest organ overall and is the source of most of our pain. Properly positioned and functioning muscle is integral to being as pain-free as possible.
Normal spine alignment, when viewing someone from the side, looks like an S-curve. It’s a gentle curve - the top of your spine (cervical) is curved forward, the middle of your back (thoracic) curves back, and the lower spine (lumbar) curves forward. It’s not perfectly straight, nor are any of these curves sharp. This balance allows the rotation and flexibility necessary for walking and running.
Normal spine alignment when viewing from the front is straight. In this plane, any curve is called ‘scoliosis.’ A certain degree of curve is considered benign (up to about 10-degrees), but any curve should be evaluated by a professional.
Bad posture can lead to the following conditions (among others):
- Shoulder, back, or neck pain
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Stress or Anxiety
- Poor circulation - varicose veins
- Problems with the hips and knees
- Poor sports and work performance
- Weakness and instability of the joints
- Poor breathing mechanics
HOW SHOES CAN AFFECT YOUR POSTURE
The feet are the foundation of the human body in space and the skeleton is suspended above the feet with a complex system of tension bands and axial loading structures; all of this is bound up in muscle and connective tissues. The structure of the foot is integral to the overall performance of the human-machine.
Your shoes affect the way you walk and can impact your posture as well. Shoes have indirect effects on the body too. For example, in the workplace, if you wear shoes that aren’t slip-resistant, a fall can injure your spine and affect its alignment. Shoes such as high heels cause the ankle to plantarflex, the knees to hyperextend, the pelvis to rotate forward and the spine to lose its normal curve and flexibility. Shoes that alter alignment too much one way or the other can dramatically change how the legs and hips rotate with walking and running; this, of course, has effects on the spine and thorax.
It’s important to find shoes that offer structural support that align your feet appropriately, support the natural curve of your spine, and don't cause foot pain. Foot pain can affect the way you walk, which will impact your balance and posture as well. The natural curve of your feet supports the natural curve of your spine - anything that negatively impacts your feet will hurt your spine’s alignment as well.
Keep these things in mind while searching for new shoes:
Look for structured support. In her practice, Dr. Warner has found that structural support is often better for promoting long-term foot health instead of shoes that only provide a cushion. Shoes that are too soft also do not allow for any use of our intrinsic foot muscles. The foot muscles themselves are very important to balance and the proper connection of the feet to the spine and rest of the body.
Search for proper arch support. Everyone needs to wear shoes with the right amount of arch support. Those with naturally high arches need shoes that can support it; however, they do not actually need any help with the arch. Too much support in a high-arch person will actually push the foot and ankle to the outside and promote instability. Those with flat feet need arch support to assist the tibial tendon with push-off during walking and running; this can mitigate foot pain and the resulting negative consequences that follow. Alignment is tricky and a professional should evaluate you for the need for alignment correction.
The Healing Sole, designed by Dr. Warner, is not made to correct alignment. Rather, this shoe simply applies principles of biomechanics that support overall natural function and health of the foot structure. The Healing Sole is meant to complement the alignment correcting shoes or inserts your physician has recommended.
Make sure the features of the shoe support your overall foot health. Our design also features a rocker bottom sole, which is often utilized in orthopedic footwear to offload stress from high-impact regions of the foot and stretch + strengthen the muscles and tendons of the feet.
The Healing Sole was designed to relieve plantar fasciitis pain and other heel pain, but they are great for promoting overall foot health as well!
Click here to read the science behind our design - and then try them out risk-free for 30 days!