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Ordinary Sneakers More Effective in Back Pain Relief than “Rocker Shoes”

Sneakers for back pain

Rocker shoes, also known as bottom rocker shoes, are shoes with an extra-thick sole and rounded bottom. The shoes, which became popular in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, claimed to have multiple benefits for the skeletal and muscular system such as:

  • Increasing joint mobility
  • Helping imbalanced gaits
  • Decreasing lower back pain.

In a recent study published in the respected medical journal Spine, Dr. Sian MacRae and her research team from King’s College in London undertook a study to investigate the “real” effectiveness of rocker shoes on lower back pain.

The study looked at 115 individuals with chronic lower back pain and assigned each person to a pair of rocker-shoes or sneakers. Each person was asked to wear the shoes when standing and walking for at least 2 hours per day as well as during a mandatory exercise session one time per week.  Using the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), a scale that measures degrees of disability, Dr. MacRae’s team measured and assessed the participants’ pain level during the six-week, six-month and one-year interval of the study. The findings were intriguing.

According to the survey results, 53% of the group that wore sneakers showed a significant improvement in their back pain compared to only 31% of the rocker shoe group.

At the beginning of the study, researchers categorized individuals based on the severity of their lower back pain. Of the individuals that had “particularly” severe back pain, the group that wore sneakers had a significantly higher improvement in their back pain over a one year period when compared to the rocker shoes group. “If a patient reports lower back pain when standing or walking, it may be more beneficial to wear sneakers than rocker sole shoes,” Dr. MacRae told Spine.

When suffering from back pain, wearing comfortable footwear can help ensure you’re not putting any unwanted strain on your lower back. Unfortunately, for some people, controlling back pain goes beyond changing their footwear. Even when taking the greatest care not to injure their backs, some people still suffer from debilitating pain that can affect their day-to-day routine.

If back pain is affecting your everyday life, it could be time to consider tackling the problem head-on. We offer a wide range of minimally invasive treatments which can help relieve back pain while avoiding the large complications and risks associated with surgery.

Learn more about our unique approach to treating back pain at the Spine & Joint Center.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, learning more about our services or have a general question, please contact us online to schedule an appointment.