Sciatica is a condition of pain and weakness in the lower back, legs, and feet. It happens due to inflammation and compression of the sciatic nerve.
Wearing the wrong shoe can bend your body at the hips and provide pressure to your sciatic nerve. Consequently, the area through which the sciatic passes becomes narrow.
At first, you will feel slight pain in your back and leg as the wrong shoes will irritate the sciatic nerve. However, you can soothe the discomfort by applying an ice pack.
Unfortunately, when you use the wrong shoes for a long time, the irritation turns into inflammation and finally results in sciatica.
Can Running Shoes Cause Sciatica
When it comes to talking about whether running shoes cause sciatica or not, we say it depends on the properties of your shoes.
While a pair of bad running shoes can cause sciatica, a pair of good running shoes can minimize the effects and ward off sciatica. This is why we recommend noticing some specific traits to get running shoes for sciatic nerve pain.
What Shoes Can Cause Sciatica
Sciatic nerves generate from the outside of the spine. Traveling through the pelvis, the sciatic nerve ends in each foot. This nerve controls the activity of the muscles on which we depend for walking or running.
These muscles have direct contact with shoes. Some shoes tighten or weaken these muscles, affecting the sciatic nerve. As a consequence, it causes pain.
High heels are an essential addition to the fashion world. It also works as a contributor to provoke sciatica symptoms. The structure of the high heels disrupts the natural curve of the feet. It shifts your weight towards your toes.
To stay upright, your body naturally places extra stress on your lower back and can cause your hips to flex forward.
Many people feel that only high heels can give rise to sciatica. Besides high heels, flat shoes can also cause sciatica. The material of the flat shoes is very thin, and this type of footwear does not support the natural arch of the feet.
Because of having no arch support, the arch of the feet can not help maintain the body’s balance. Thus, flat shoes lead to back pain and sciatica issues.
Running shoes lacking proper cushioning, stability, and flexibility is one of the principal reasons for sciatica. This shoe cannot absorb the stress and shock when you run on a hard surface such as concrete and asphalt.
As a result, the shock and stress gradually shift towards your sciatic nerve and cause pain.
Attributes Of Good Running Shoes For Sciatica
Several types of shoes are good for sciatica. Among them, running shoes are the best option for sciatic patients. These shoes distribute the pressure equally through the whole foot and thus prevent stress on the lower back.
However, running shoes can do good to sciatica patients only if they have the following attributes.
1. Ample Cushioning
Cushioning is a necessary attribute of shoes for sciatica. Sufficient cushion of shoes can absorb shock and prevent it from afflicting knees, hips, and back.
The ability to absorb shock mainly depends on the midsole of the shoe. You can get memory foam or gel-cushioned shoes. A pair of heavily cushioned shoes let the user overstride the hard and rocky ground safely.
2. Heel Height
We have already mentioned that high heels and flat shoes are not good for sciatica. You should consider having shoes that have slightly elevated heels. The height of the heel should be between 8 and 10 mm.
3. Great Support
An important aspect that you should consider while buying running shoes has great support systems, which are heel cup, arch support, and supportive uppers.
These support systems prevent your feet from slipping and relieve your feet from stress.
A pair of poorly fitting shoes can worsen the condition of sciatica patients. Tight shoes can cause pain on your feet, which will eventually spread to your sciatic nerve. Furthermore, tight shoes make you scrunch your toes which aggravates the pain of the sciatica nerve.
On the other hand, loose shoes are utterly uncomfortable and can not provide proper arch support.
Does Running Cause Or Aggravate Sciatica?
Although running involves the area’s muscles associated with sciatica, it does not cause sciatica. However, if you are already suffering from sciatica, running can exacerbate your condition.
So you should refrain from running to keep your disease from further worsening. You can also take your doctor’s advice before exercising or running.
Tips For Running With Sciatica
Running with sciatica depends on how much and where you are feeling pain. If you want to run, then consult with the doctor beforehand.
After getting permission from the doctor, follow the tips below to minimize experiencing pain while running.
Start with a short distance
You should start running for a small distance to discover whether the pain aggravates or not. If you think running this distance does not affect your sciatica, you should go a little more distance.
Find out the maximum distance you can go without aggravating your sciatica.
Shorten your stride length
Long stride during running extends and irritates the sciatic nerve. The extended sciatic nerve causes the lower back to bend and thus result in immense pain. So try to decrease your stride length when you run.
Running on concrete or asphalt sidewalks or stony surfaces can increase the shock and pressure in your back, and then it spreads to the sciatic nerve. You should consider running on soft surfaces such as grass and trails.
Stretch your hamstrings
Before you start running, do some warm-up exercises such as stretches to warm your hamstrings. Hamstrings are strong bands of tissue, and you will find them at the back of your thigh.
Hamstrings can safeguard your sciatic nerve while running. If you do not stretch before running, hamstrings will remain tight and will not protect your sciatic nerve.
Change your shoes
Running with sciatica needs suitable shoes. Well-cushioned shoes that are neither too tight nor too wide are perfect for running. Designed as a shock absorber, running shoes are ideal for sciatic patients.
These shoes protect your knees, hips, and back from getting pressure and shock every time your feet touch the road.
Although most sciatica patients recover without medical treatment, this disease should not be ignored. It causes unbearable pain and disturbs the daily life of the patient.
However, a good pair of running shoes can be a good relief for sciatica patients and people who want to stave off sciatica.
So get a good pair of running shoes with the aforementioned attributes and lead a healthy lifestyle. Hoping now you will get the answer of Can running shoes cause sciatica.