Clothing Conundrum: What to Wear During an IBS Flare (Part 2)

I recently wrote about the hazards of wearing tight-fitting pants in terms of how it can interfere with digestion, in turn causing or flaring IBS symptoms. However, I have also had experiences related to footwear when it comes to IBS.

Are uncomfortable shoes an IBS trigger?

I may be an outlier, but I have found that whenever I wore heels (even small ones) or tight shoes and boots that were uncomfortable, I was more likely to have an IBS flare either later that day or the next morning. I clearly can remember several instances where I was walking around and feeling my muscles in my calves and thighs tightening and eventually even spasming. I could literally feel the pain moving upwards, till it would hit my gut. Sometimes I would barely make it home from a night walking around the town or dancing in such shoes, before I'd have to head straight to the bathroom.

It took a while for me to catch on that the shoes were yet another contributing factor to my problem. After all, who thinks of shoes as something that can bother IBS? But everything is connected, and uncomfortable shoes have been correlated to back, hip and leg problems and pain. And at least for my sensitive system, once one part of my body becomes overly stressed or aching, it tends to spread and will eventually (often quickly) affect my gut.

Comfortable footwear

At this point in my life, I have pretty much ditched heels altogether. I also rarely wear thigh high tight black boots (which were my one real fashion weakness). As an alternative, I tend to wear thick-soled sneakers with plenty of cushion and arch support and also sometimes use orthotic inserts in my shoes and boots. I even went to a special store to have my arches imaged and measured, in order to try to find the kind of sneakers where the treads would last a long time and that would fully support my feet on long walks.

Likewise, I try to wear comfortable socks that are not too tight or too bunch up within my shoes. When it's summertime, I have opted out of the cheap flip flops I always sported as a kid and young adult, or strappy sandals with paper-thin soles sometimes seeming as though they are made of cardboard. I instead wear Tevas and other sandals that cradle my arch and are thick-soled. I find it makes a difference, especially for an avid walker like myself.

Do you find that wearing uncomfortable shoes can contribute to IBS flares? Or that, conversely, wearing comfortable shoes protects you from IBS symptoms? Share in comments section below!

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