If your feet and low back hurt by the end of the day, it's not normal. It could be effectively treated with a simple change of your shoes.
I had heard all about barefoot shoes for years before trying them myself. The Vibram Five Fingers were the popular choice and I had tried them early on at the store. However, I disliked the fabric between my toes and the need for special socks so I decided not to buy.
Fast forward 5 years and many hours a day on my feet later. I began to experience incredible soreness in the soles of my feet along with low back stiffness. The last thing I considered were my shoes. Especially since I had purchased expensive running shoes with plenty of squishy comfort. I was even given gifted a pair of custom made orthotics from my previous employer, which actually made my feet hurt more.
Nothing helped until I revisited the barefoot shoe. I was at a running store in Park Ridge, IL and came upon a sale on New Balance Minimus shoes. They were the last ones in stock, my size and only $40. I began wearing the shoes at work and quickly noticed a difference. By the end of the day, I had zero pain in my feet and my low back was still ready to go eight more hours. I began wearing those shoes everywhere.
Being able to feel the ground underneath you as you walk and even notice slight inconsistencies within the sidewalk was an interesting concept. I no longer stubbed my toes and over time began noticing better overall balance as I walked over uneven terrain. I was hooked and haven't gone back since.
Barefoot shoes seem to work much like a bicycle seat.
If you look at all the seats available for bicycles, you notice there are more than just a handful. There are gel, foam, leather, skinny, fat, etc. The extremely comfy and thick ones can actually be bad for you. Your sit bones in your pelvis need to be properly supported and if not, your tailbone may begin taking on some of the weight. Your tailbone is not a good support structure for weight and if irritated can lead to pilidonal cysts. You'll notice long distance cyclists have some of the hardest seats even though they're riding for hundreds of miles. It can be either leather or fabric, but in either instance there's hardly any squishy comfort.
Now going back to barefoot shoes. The feet should be properly supported by your heel, toes and the ball of your foot with the arches intact and not touching the insert of your shoe. If there's too much cushion, your arches no longer have an effect as your entire foot sinks down into the sole. If your arches are no longer needed, wouldn't it make sense that they would begin to lose strength and slowly flatten? Improper arch support then has a laundry list of health problems including plantar fasciitis, uneven gait, knee pain, hip pain, low back pain, etc, etc.
Here's the summary to this post. If you are working long hours on your feet, have fallen arches or would just like a more natural walking/running gait; look to barefoot shoes for relief.
Written by: Dr. Thomas R Pellatt, DC
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Thomas R. Pellatt, DC
Chiropractor and Owner of ChiroElite Chiropractic + Rehab in Altoona, WI