What a person wears can affect their posture: certain clothing and accessories can contribute to back, neck, hip, and foot pain. Chiropractic can provide solutions to the problems caused by clothing choices.
What Clothing and Accessories (Not) to Wear
The most obvious article of clothing that comes to mind when thinking of painful fashion may very well be the high-heeled shoe. Foot pain and back problems can come from this footwear. Corns, bunions, calluses, hammertoes, and pain can arise from high heels.1 This is especially problematic when the high-heeled shoes “lack support and sound structure”. High heels lead to smaller calf muscles and can cause the foot to turn inward. Some women are even getting surgery (to shave down toe bones) and Botox injections to “loosen the muscles pulling on the toe”. It isn’t just high heels: flip-flop sandals also alter walking patterns, causing sole, heel, and ankle problems.2 When walking patterns change, there can be knee damage as well as the potential for osteoarthritis from “bone-on-bone forces in the knee”. Even seemingly minor changes can lead to back problems, poor posture, and muscle fatigue.3 Men who wear their wallets in their back pockets aren’t only risking fashion faux pas and an easy target for theft: they risk sciatica. When an object presses on the buttocks, specifically on the piriformis muscle, the sciatic nerve can cause “radiating pain in the back and hip area”.4 Even children are at risk for problems from backpacks that are too heavy or carried only on one side. The natural curves in the middle and lower back can be distorted and strain the spine and ribs. The shoulders can round, and balance is reduced when the person is leaning forward from the weight. When backpacks are carried on one shoulder, muscles will strain from overcompensation. Heavy backpacks can lead to neck, arm, shoulder, and lower back pains, as well as headaches.5
Chiropractors and other doctors may recommend shoe inserts, orthotics, or at the very least: “flat, flexible shoes with good arch support”.6 Some professionals suggest that backpacks should not exceed 10-15% of a child’s weight. Backpack carrying should be done in shorter durations, with breaks in between.7 The American Chiropractic Association actually recommends that a backpack not weigh more than 5-10% of the body weight. It shouldn’t hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. Bulky and sharp objects should be packed so that they don’t dig into the back. Backpacks should be smaller, and both straps should be used; the straps should be padded, wide, and adjustable.8 Regular chiropractic adjustments can also help alleviate the repetitive pain caused by fashion and accessory choices.
Check out more information about chiropractic and ergonomics.