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Birks vs. a raised heel

Posted by Helene M on 7/17/00 at 14:07 (023437)

Ever since I got PF I've needed to keep my heel raised higher than the ball of my foot. I accomplish that by puting felt heel pads in my sneakers. If I don't do that, I get heel pain. This is the reason I am afraid to try Birks. They seem very flat (heel at same level as front of shoe). I'm wondering if any of you Birks lovers formerly needed heel lifts. Also, do any of you who wear Birks have high arches?

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Nancy S. on 7/17/00 at 15:39 (023439)

Helene, I have normal arches. I wore custom orthotics in my hiking shoes from Sept. to Dec., which raised my heel quite a bit higher than the front of my foot, which seemed like a good idea to me at first. And for a while, that decreased my pain by about 25% -- for the first couple of hours of the day. Then it came back full force. I was still in a lot of pain until I got my first pair of Birks in December, and my heel pain zoomed down almost immediately by at least 75%.
So for whatever reason, the uniqueness of the Birks footbed did a lot more for me than an orthotic-raised heel. I also suspect that those months in the higher orthotics contributed to my coming down with achilles tendonitis -- in both feet, not just the PF one. I think the heels being raised prevented the achilles from stretching enough and made them tight. Just my opinion and story . . .
--Nancy

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Lori E. on 7/17/00 at 16:46 (023442)

I have high arches, and I found the Tatami line of Birks has worked well for me. They have a good high arch and a narrower toe and heel cup. I was wearing Danskos which have a raised heel and pronounced arch in the footbed, but the Birks are better. Good luck.

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

JudyS on 7/17/00 at 19:47 (023454)

Hi Helene - I have very high and rigid arches and have had the same feeling with my Birks. In fact, I had asked Nancy a week or two ago if that seemingly 'low' heel might have contributed to her Achilles Tendonitis.........she briefly suspected so but ruled it out. Anyway, I've stopped wearing my Birks but for a different reason.
Someone else was asking about PF and high arches......my Pod tells me that my high arch, without proper pre-activity stretching, just got too 'short' and could no longer provide the proper length of stretch so became inflammed. In fact, he's worried that if I were to have surgery, it could cause that kind of arch to 'collapse' too much. My husband has the classic 'flat feet' and he had a bad case of PF also but it was taken care of with surgery.

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Beverly on 7/17/00 at 20:00 (023458)

Helene,

I have a somewhat high arch... higher than 'normal,' but not extreme.
When I first got PF, I wore athletic shoes with various inserts for the first three months. They were more comfortable than any of my other shoes. But when I got into Birks about a little over a month ago, I started finding them much more comfortable. Another Euro type walking shoe I have had some success with is the Dansko. It has a higher heel and a clearly defined arch. From doing board searches, I've learned that Dansko's are more successful with high arch people.
I switch my shoes around a bit, but I still prefer the Birk Arizona to any other shoe. I think this is so personal... each foot is different... that it is a trial and error process.

Beverly


Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Nancy S. on 7/17/00 at 22:36 (023486)

Judy, I think I remember that -- suspecting Birks playing a part in achilles tendonitis. But you're right, I have ruled it out. I believe I was looking at the picture backwards. What I see now is: my heel in the hiking shoes with fat rigid orthotics, sometimes even covered with otc inserts because the orthotics were so darned hard, put my foot at a downward angle I've never wanted or used in life. I never wore high heels -- I always wore things that kept my feet even on the ground (I used to live in the big city and wanted to be able to run on a moment's notice; I used to practice looking mean in the mirror, but I couldn't swing it, so I had to move away).
I think having my feet at that awkward angle for over 3 months gave short shrift to my achilles tendons. Then when I switched to Birks, which keep my feet at the even level I have always felt comfortable with, I needed the ATs to be at their usual unshortened position but they weren't, and this contributed to their irritation. But I blame the orthotics in hiking shoes with a thick heel, not the Birks. That heel height was no good for me -- sure, it took a bit of pressure off my heel, but it tightened my tendons and put way too much pressure on my toes -- I had to cut my toenails about twice a day because they were ramming into the front of the shoes. Not to mention my socks got holes in the toes before their time. The whole thing was unnatural.
--Nancy

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Helene M on 7/18/00 at 08:25 (023505)

Thanks all for your input on this. I have more confidence now to at least try the Birks. Judy, I feel that my arches have 'shortened', too. Does your pod tell you that you should be stretching?

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

JudyS on 7/18/00 at 12:22 (023522)

Good Morning Helene - My pod had me doing the classic wall stretch, towel stretch, etc. right from the start. However - I never did them consistently! When I finally decided that I should, I overdid it and made things worse - which was hard to believe! Now I stretch gently three or four times a day. I'm doing two stretches; one, sitting on the floor with feet against the wall, straight legs, bending forward at the waist until there's a tug in the calf and two, sitting on my heels with my toes 'tucked under' as Alan says. That second one's a little tough so you have to concentrate on being gentle with it. I feel that stretching is a must and, as much of the Board conversation is indicating these days, keeping the plantar flexable, even with the most minimum stretching and activity, seems to make a difference.

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

ann on 7/20/00 at 20:49 (023661)

Helene....I cannot wear the Birks at all. I have an extremely high arch. I can't even wear athletic shoes...with or without orthotics. I've had three pair of orthotics made and suffered with each pair. Last summer I bought Dansko and have finally found something I can make it thru the day in. However, I'd love to find something that I can use for exercising...walking etc. Right now I've had a relapse and I'm taking 3 advil every 4 hours.
Ann

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Nancy S. on 7/17/00 at 15:39 (023439)

Helene, I have normal arches. I wore custom orthotics in my hiking shoes from Sept. to Dec., which raised my heel quite a bit higher than the front of my foot, which seemed like a good idea to me at first. And for a while, that decreased my pain by about 25% -- for the first couple of hours of the day. Then it came back full force. I was still in a lot of pain until I got my first pair of Birks in December, and my heel pain zoomed down almost immediately by at least 75%.
So for whatever reason, the uniqueness of the Birks footbed did a lot more for me than an orthotic-raised heel. I also suspect that those months in the higher orthotics contributed to my coming down with achilles tendonitis -- in both feet, not just the PF one. I think the heels being raised prevented the achilles from stretching enough and made them tight. Just my opinion and story . . .
--Nancy

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Lori E. on 7/17/00 at 16:46 (023442)

I have high arches, and I found the Tatami line of Birks has worked well for me. They have a good high arch and a narrower toe and heel cup. I was wearing Danskos which have a raised heel and pronounced arch in the footbed, but the Birks are better. Good luck.

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

JudyS on 7/17/00 at 19:47 (023454)

Hi Helene - I have very high and rigid arches and have had the same feeling with my Birks. In fact, I had asked Nancy a week or two ago if that seemingly 'low' heel might have contributed to her Achilles Tendonitis.........she briefly suspected so but ruled it out. Anyway, I've stopped wearing my Birks but for a different reason.
Someone else was asking about PF and high arches......my Pod tells me that my high arch, without proper pre-activity stretching, just got too 'short' and could no longer provide the proper length of stretch so became inflammed. In fact, he's worried that if I were to have surgery, it could cause that kind of arch to 'collapse' too much. My husband has the classic 'flat feet' and he had a bad case of PF also but it was taken care of with surgery.

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Beverly on 7/17/00 at 20:00 (023458)

Helene,

I have a somewhat high arch... higher than 'normal,' but not extreme.
When I first got PF, I wore athletic shoes with various inserts for the first three months. They were more comfortable than any of my other shoes. But when I got into Birks about a little over a month ago, I started finding them much more comfortable. Another Euro type walking shoe I have had some success with is the Dansko. It has a higher heel and a clearly defined arch. From doing board searches, I've learned that Dansko's are more successful with high arch people.
I switch my shoes around a bit, but I still prefer the Birk Arizona to any other shoe. I think this is so personal... each foot is different... that it is a trial and error process.

Beverly


Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Nancy S. on 7/17/00 at 22:36 (023486)

Judy, I think I remember that -- suspecting Birks playing a part in achilles tendonitis. But you're right, I have ruled it out. I believe I was looking at the picture backwards. What I see now is: my heel in the hiking shoes with fat rigid orthotics, sometimes even covered with otc inserts because the orthotics were so darned hard, put my foot at a downward angle I've never wanted or used in life. I never wore high heels -- I always wore things that kept my feet even on the ground (I used to live in the big city and wanted to be able to run on a moment's notice; I used to practice looking mean in the mirror, but I couldn't swing it, so I had to move away).
I think having my feet at that awkward angle for over 3 months gave short shrift to my achilles tendons. Then when I switched to Birks, which keep my feet at the even level I have always felt comfortable with, I needed the ATs to be at their usual unshortened position but they weren't, and this contributed to their irritation. But I blame the orthotics in hiking shoes with a thick heel, not the Birks. That heel height was no good for me -- sure, it took a bit of pressure off my heel, but it tightened my tendons and put way too much pressure on my toes -- I had to cut my toenails about twice a day because they were ramming into the front of the shoes. Not to mention my socks got holes in the toes before their time. The whole thing was unnatural.
--Nancy

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

Helene M on 7/18/00 at 08:25 (023505)

Thanks all for your input on this. I have more confidence now to at least try the Birks. Judy, I feel that my arches have 'shortened', too. Does your pod tell you that you should be stretching?

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

JudyS on 7/18/00 at 12:22 (023522)

Good Morning Helene - My pod had me doing the classic wall stretch, towel stretch, etc. right from the start. However - I never did them consistently! When I finally decided that I should, I overdid it and made things worse - which was hard to believe! Now I stretch gently three or four times a day. I'm doing two stretches; one, sitting on the floor with feet against the wall, straight legs, bending forward at the waist until there's a tug in the calf and two, sitting on my heels with my toes 'tucked under' as Alan says. That second one's a little tough so you have to concentrate on being gentle with it. I feel that stretching is a must and, as much of the Board conversation is indicating these days, keeping the plantar flexable, even with the most minimum stretching and activity, seems to make a difference.

Re: Birks vs. a raised heel

ann on 7/20/00 at 20:49 (023661)

Helene....I cannot wear the Birks at all. I have an extremely high arch. I can't even wear athletic shoes...with or without orthotics. I've had three pair of orthotics made and suffered with each pair. Last summer I bought Dansko and have finally found something I can make it thru the day in. However, I'd love to find something that I can use for exercising...walking etc. Right now I've had a relapse and I'm taking 3 advil every 4 hours.
Ann