Can Flat Shoes Cause Sciatica? 6 Common Symptoms

Can Flat Shoes Cause Sciatica

Can flat shoes cause sciatica? These questions have been a trending topic for a while now. To help our audience with the proper answer, we have asked some physicians and researched many online health portals. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Flat shoes are not good for health and can cause sciatica too.  

All of us know that shoe gives a shape to the way we walk and carry ourselves. We wear shoes to protect our feet from external forces. But wearing inappropriate shoes over a long period of time can trigger various painful issues o our feet as well as the entire body posture.

It can cause back and lower back pain which later on flare-up sciatica pain as our feet carry the entire body weight. All these years we heard that wearing high-heeled shoes over a long period of time can damage our feet and cause sciatica. But are flat shoes good for sciatica?

Before understanding how can flat shoes cause sciatica, you must know what is Sciatica and when it happens. Sciatica pain takes place when increasing stress builds on the sciatica nerve. It often leads to pain in the leg, numbness, and burning sensation. It originates in the lower back and gets intensified because of bad posture and the consistent effect from feet hitting the floor. 

How Can flat shoes cause sciatica?

You won’t believe what I found from the research. According to the research and some physicians, flat shoes are 25% more responsible than high heels for sciatica pain. Surprised? Let me tell you why! Most of the flat shoes come with thin material and lower arch support.

When we walk with them, it causes rational strain in the feet which later on travel all the way to the lower back. The continuous pressure may pressurize two areas. One is the piriformis muscle in your buttock under which the sciatica nerve lays.

When postural imbalance tightens or squeezes these muscles, it put immense pressure on the sciatic nerve which leads to sciatica. The other area is lower backjoints and discs. If the process continues for a long time, it can cause a lot of stress on the lower backjoints and discs. As a result, they get deteriorated day by day or put on pressure on the bulb of the sciatic nerve, thus cause sciatica. So, it is wise to throw away shoes once the heels wore out.  

Why do flat shoes cause sciatica?

People usually often wear ballet flats and many other styles of flat shoes in summer. Almost all of them have insufficient or no arch support. These flat footwear can give rise to a few ailments, ranging from plantar fasciitis, fallen arches, sciatica nerve pain, and so on. Aside from sciatica nerve pain, all other problems originate in the toes. But these 

  • problems can influence and formulate lower back pain problems due to the usage of these shoes. You will find the majority part of these problems among those flat footwear users. As our feet hold the entire body weight which comprises the backbone, the faulty functioning of your toes may affect the alignment of all the structures they support.
  • We all know that the arches of our feet act as a shock absorber when we walk. While our feet touch the ground, they lessen the effect of the various body parts such as ankles, knees, hip joints, and lower back joints. You might have noticed what happens when you walk with proper heel shoes.
  • You walk on the balls of your feet which strengthens your arch. Your feet get more support with a high heeled shoe than wearing a flat shoe. But, with a flat heel, you feel even a small stone under your soles which hurt your feet. As the sciatic nerve ranges from our feet, it easily passes all the way to the ankles, knees, and lower back joints which fire up sciatica.
  • When you get used to high heels then suddenly switch to flat shoes, this sudden transition may flare up the lower back and sciatica problems. This happens because our bodies always try to adapt to a certain situation.
  • Due to the frequent usage of high heeled shoes, our leg muscles adapt to the support system of the shoe. Our muscles in the back of our legs remain in a static contraction state when they stay above the floors with high heels.
  • Over time, this process squeezes your muscles. But suddenly, when changing our heel from high to a comparatively lower one, you are actually forcing the muscles to loosen up. As our muscles take time to adapt to a situation, sudden forces to spread the muscles put pressure on them. Consequently, these muscles put further stress on the sciatica nerve and thus cause sciatica pain. 

These are the reasons why flat shoes cause sciatica pain. But how are you going to identify that you are suffering from sciatica? In most of the case, the following symptoms are found among sciatica sufferers.

Symptoms of Sciatica:

  • Painful buttock or leg
  • Pain all the way from the lower back to down the foot.
  • Sensation like pinching with needles, numbness, burning sensations, and sometimes weakness in the legs.
  • Too much pain in one leg to stand up or walk.
  • Painful toes.
  • Lower back pain.

What to do when you are suffering from sciatica?

Once you have identified that you are suffering from sciatica, you need to change your outfit and overall lifestyle.

  • First of all, ditch all the flat shoes such as ballet pumps or flip flops, with no arch intensifying the sciatica pain. 
  • Avoid toning shoes. People who are trying to lose weight are often seen using them. As they are not well balanced, they tend to put more strain on your joints and lower back. Research suggests that toning shoes have nothing to do with weight loss. 
  • Consult with a sciatica specialist to evaluate your symptoms and identify the root cause of your pain. Follow the instructions of the doctor. Ask them what kind of shoes to wear for sciatica. 
  • Do home exercise regularly.
  • Follow a healthy diet. An unhealthy diet can gain you some extra weight and put pressure on your feet and thus leading to sciatica.
  • Use orthopedic shoes for sciatica. Many companies are producing orthopedic flats that give you arch support like a tennis shoe.

Above all, you need to use the best shoes for treating sciatica pain. Check out our pick for the best sciatica shoes where you can get the ideal shoes to alleviate your foot pain followed by the buying guide to help you choose the ideal one for you.


Do flat shoes make sciatica worse?

Answer: Yes. As flat shoes often come with low arch support, continuous usage of them can make sciatica worse.

Do not wear flat shoes unless you don’t have overpronation feet. Flat shoes harm your spine and the overall body more than high heeled shoes do. Every time you walk with flat footwear, it will pass unusual shocks up to the knee, hip, and lower back. As soon as you feel something wrong in your lower back, knees, ankles, and even in the foot, don’t be late to consult a doctor. Your ignorance can lead to long term harm to your body. 

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