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Has this happened to anyone else?

Posted by Beverly on 7/29/01 at 14:37 (054707)

In general, I've been doing better since getting my new orthodics and perhaps the course of time, but the last few days I've had increased heel pain.

I think the culprit was walking around the pool in my water shoes. They are above average as water shoes go (Chaco River Shoes). I've already learned not to walk from my apartment to the pool in them. I wear my sneakers and then put on the water shoes at the pool. Well, now after a glorious weekend of basking in the early morning sun and then again at sunset... going from the pool to the hot tub in my water shoes ... from pool to my lounge chair in water shoes and repeating this indulgence several times before going back to the 'real world,' I have increased heel pain.

And so, I am picturing being dorkier than I already am... having to lace up the running shoes until I reach the edge of the pool and then putting on my water shoes, and then lacing up the running shoes again on my brief jaunt from pool to hot tub... ect... What a pain!

So, has anyone else found that walking around the pool in water shoes increases their heel pain?
Thanks,
Beverly

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

elliott on 7/29/01 at 15:39 (054710)

Many of us feel different pain levels in different shoes. The water shoes probably have no medial support whatsoever, hence the increased pain. Looks like you may have to dispense with the water shoes altogether.

Speaking of dorky, I've had trouble wearing almost any shoes whatsoever (TTS problems in left foot, although likely PF in right foot with different needs than left foot complicates things further--right prefers cushioned, left hard), so when I get to work, I take off the only thing I can tolerate right now--a pair of boots (in summer!)--and walk around in my socks (never tried Birks, but you know, sandals look real dorky with a tie). It's been seven months already; sure hope this ends.

Re: Do you NOT wear shoes?

Carmen H on 7/29/01 at 17:40 (054711)

Elliott....
You probably know better then me on your own feet and what works for you...but in my very limited opinion (only had this PF about 8 weeks) you should not be walking around without shoes AT ALL. Socks are no better then barefeet....there's no support in most regular socks so your feet are just taking an additional beating after you get home. JUST my opinion as I said but I truly think you should try wearing shoes AT ALL times and see what happens?

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

wendyn on 7/29/01 at 17:53 (054715)

Elliot - I think carmen is right. Stocking feet for you is probably a no no.

Yes, Birks and a tie looks pretty dorky. So do Birks, nylons and a business skirt suit in the winter time. If my ego can take it - so can yours. Humiliation is good for the soul.

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

Beverly on 7/29/01 at 19:49 (054732)

I no longer think Birks look dorky. I really miss mine since going to orthodics, but the orthodics help my ankles.

I don't think I need to give up the Chaco's because I've worn them with success in the shower for over a year, and all summer out by the pool. But I walked around the pool and hot tub alot more this weekend than I usually do... going from pool to hot tub and back and forth. It appears that it was just too much. But I'm wondering if this has happened to the rest of you... especially since swimming is a popular sport for PF'ers. I was not swimming. My pool activities fall more in the 'floaty with beach book' catagory.

This is just frustrating because every time I think I am doing better and stop paying so much attention to my feet, something happens.
Thanks,
Beverly

Re: You're right, but what can I do?

elliott on 7/29/01 at 20:37 (054738)

It just gets too hot and uncomfortable with boots on the whole time. In most shoes (all that I own and the many I've tried, and it's very many), the pain level in my left foot (tingling due to TTS) jumps in minutes to an 8 (with 10 being a request for amputation), but without shoes it feels almost normal. Note: this is post-op, with the TTS release having been performed by one of the best in the US. I can't blame him; that's the way it turned out. I certainly have much less pain with no shoes on now than I did before surgery, but alas, that's some tradeoff. It's a shame with the shoes, too, because what I'm almost certain is PF in the right foot (which is also TTS post-op but with different possibly non-TTS symptoms, some still lingering, with the PF in this foot probably having contributed to my initial symtpoms) felt so much better with the prescribed hard orthotics I have, but the only shoes the orthotics will fit in give me that 8 in the left foot.

If you want the ultimate dorky, there was a while when I was wearing NON-MATCHING SHOES!! (And yes, my co-workers noticed.) I might go back to that, but there are problems with that as well (e.g. back takes a beating due to the imbalance, not too good for the sciatica I have which was apparently caused by a bulging L4-L5 disc).

I still have hope, for both feet. I'm going to keep searching for more shoes and might get lucky. I'm considering getting what might be a lucky cortisone shot in that left foot (as the source of pain is quite localized, much more so post-op). I've been doing some power yoga stretches on my feet which may be helping for both (I'll post about them later when it's clear how useful it is), and especially the weak right one, which was near utter collapse two months ago but is now seemingly progressing, including the PF (otherwise, I probably would heed your advice to at least keep on those boots; I may still, so thanks). And while I still have some trouble walking, amazingly, I am now able to cycle hard in my road bike at least every other day, so I have one outlet in life I still eft. You can't imagine how happy that makes me. The foot felt the best it's been months after a 35-mile ride. Unbelievable. For me the feeling is equivalent to Wendy's hiking (it's not quite a high as running was to me, but hey, I'll have to live with that). I think the cycling broke up the debilitating scar tissue in that right foot, and that one pair of cycling shoes does not irritate the left foot too much (now if only I could walk in cleats and stiff forefoot :-)).

Re: Oh, re: Birks

elliott on 7/29/01 at 22:47 (054744)

I did order a pair of Birk shoes through the mail in my size (not the sandals, the looks of which I just don't like--hey, not all men are sandals-kinds-of-guys--but the shoe versions look weird and ugly too), but they didn't fit (they were too loose at the instep, so when laced the eyestays touched without the shoe being sufficiently tight), so I returned them. Maybe I should try the sandals. Wonder if the straps will miss that irrtated area in my left foot. Also, those grooves in the soles look like they'll never work. And did I mention I don't like the look of sandals?

Re: oops! text correction

elliott on 7/29/01 at 22:52 (054745)

It should've read, 'The foot felt the best it's been *in* months after a 35-mile ride.'

Re: Oh, re: Birks

wendyn on 7/29/01 at 23:14 (054747)

elliot - did I mention it doesn't matter if you like the way they look?

;)

If you get the sandals _without_ the back strap - they should not rub anywhere that is affected by TTS. The sandal backstrap would though. You may find that you like them (sandals) better because they are loose and don't squeeze your feet. You can get hard footbeds for lots of support - or softer ones for cushioning (they come in a few styles). If you want to spend twice as much you could by 1 pair of each and then mix and match to suit your feet needs!!!!

Even if you will not wear them out of the house - maybe you would wear them in your house with all of the curtains closed.

The groves on the soles work - for what most people need them for. They do not work on ice. I have tried.

I used to wear nylons and cute high heels - I would not have been caught dead in a pair of Birks (unless I really was at the beach). You do what you have to do.

I have said many times that I would wear maxi pads on my feet if I thought it would help.

Someone else here had a good one like that but I can't remember what it was.

Re: Birkies, Beverly?

Julie on 7/30/01 at 01:38 (054753)

Beverly, have you ever tried Birkies? The - the footbed is slightly different, the arch not as high, and they have no 'give', but they're probably the closest thing in the water shoe department to to 'real' Birks. You might get away with them on your treks from pool-to-hot-tub-to-lounger.

Re: PF and bare/stocking feet - the Big Nono!

Julie on 7/30/01 at 02:14 (054756)

Elliot, I'm sorry to add to the general clamour, but - you guessed it, Carmen and Wendy are right, and the reason they are right is that if you do have PF, and you seem to think you have, going barefoot is causing further injury to the plantar fascia with every step you take.

Socks-without-shoes is the same as going barefoot.

You've simply got to re-think your priorities. Hot feet? Don't like the look of Birks,or whatever? Wouldn't be seen dead in anything that makes you look (your idea of) a dork?

Doesn't matter. Forget it. No bare feet. Your arches need support ALL the time. You want to get rid of your PF, don't you? More than anything else? So you can get back to running?

In the long struggle with PF, sometimes what we don't do is as important as what we 'do'. No bare feet.

If orthotics help you, Birkenstocks probably will too. If they suit you, you'll get to love them - yes, even the look of them. The Arizona sandals, which quite a few of us have, are a nice, simple shape: like the foot. And after all, some folks might say it's the tie that's the dorky bit. I agree with Wendy's advice that you should get the version without back straps. It's not the back straps that keep the sandals on, but the way your feet are encouraged to walk in them: your toes are meant to grip the toe bar as the foot rolls forward, and release as it lifts from the ground. (In this way, and not just because of the contours of the footbed, Birks fulfil a therapeutic function: they exercise the entire musculature of the foot.)

They've got to be the right size, which may not be the same as your normal size, so don't buy them on line until you've been properly fitted by a knowledgeable salesperson in a specialist shop. If you don't have such a shop near you, the various Birk websites usually offer some kind of fitting advice - on some you can send a tracing of your foot. The correct size always look too big: the rim should overlap the forefoot and heel by at least a quarter inch. And the straps should be fairly loose so that your feet can 'work': you should be able to slip your fingers under them.

The German Birkenstock website, http://www.birkenstock-cn.com has the lowest prices.

Have we persuaded you? Maybe not. Well - there are always the cleats... speaking of which, I'm very glad the biking is giving you such pleasure. It really is vital to have something we love doing. Not sure, though, about power yoga - very, very strong weight-bearing exercise. Take care with it.

All the best

Julie

Re: The Walking Co...

Carmen H on 7/30/01 at 08:42 (054774)

Do you have a 'The Walking Co.' store near you? The shoes I tried on there felt like heaven and they have lots of styles of Mephistos as well.....it's just a matter of what style you like. There are many to choose and they have sales too! Important!! Sales!!!
My sister used to hate Birks too...said they were the 'ugliest' shoes she had ever seen. She doesn't mind them so much now. They grow on you.
Oh..by the way...with a tie they say 'I'm confident enough to wear these and with a tie and get away with it' I promise.

Re: Birk sizing questions

elliott on 7/30/01 at 10:59 (054799)

OK, you got me at least thinking. Thanks for that Web site; it seems to take forever to load, though, and after going all the way through to the order level, I finally get, in German only, what I think is a message that they're out of stock in that model (they forgot to put that message in English!). I do know of a mailorder place which has them. I have the sizing chart in front of me, but the Euro sizing and corresponding US sizing listed in parentheses don't match what I'm used to with other purchases (e.g. bike shoes); the Birk Euro seems much smaller in the conversion than its corresponding US.

Could some of you state the size of your regular non-Birk shoes and the Euro size of the Birks you have (e.g. women's 8.5, Birk 39)? (Julie, you probably know the UK conversion to US; if not, list the UK.) That way, I'll be better able to guess my Birk size. Thanks so much.

Re: I checked the Web...

elliott on 7/30/01 at 11:01 (054800)

closest is around 35 minutes away. All that for sandals?!?

Thanks; I'll keep it in mind.

Re: Birkies and Chacos

LisaCO on 7/30/01 at 11:07 (054801)

Beverly,
I have a pair of Chacos, and a pair of Birkies that I got a couple of months ago. (Birkies with purple soles and the gaudiest green printed uppers! Only available on the German web site--gotta love the fashion sense-of-humor of the Europeans!) I have worn the Chacos for more than a year for showering, yard work and to the pool. I wear the Birkies 90% of the time now.

Both sandals are about equal as far as stiffness of the sole is concerned, but both will flex a good bit if you twist them laterally. That's wju O have switched to the Birkies--my heel would slip in the Chacos. The heel 'cup' in the Chacos is not defined enough for me--too flat. The y have about the same amount of arch support/height (not enough for me, though) but the arch is more defined in the Birkies. I get a suction-cup sound when I take the Birkies off my wet foot.

Where they really differ is in their outsoles--the Chacos are WAY more secure in the water. I still use my Chacos for getting in and out of the pool, and for honest-to-goodness river adventures. OK, they also really differ in price--$90 for my Chacos vs. $37 for my Birkies (from Germany, shipping included).

YMMV statement:
My foot has been described by Birk fitters as an 'ideal' Birk foot--high arch, narrow heel, prehensile toes--although my foot is a bit 'low volume' so I like lots of straps for adjustments. I am a perfect fit in most of the Tatami line, so weight my observations accordingly.

Re: Birk sizing questions

LisaCO on 7/30/01 at 11:50 (054808)

You're better off not guessing, Elliott. I have 6 pairs of Birks, and all but two are different sizes! I wear an 8 US Women's, but anywhere from a 39 Narrow to a 41 Regular in Birks.

If at all possible, do go to an experienced Birk fitter and be fitted. Julie's right--it is difficult to fit yourself in your first pair because they fit so differently from any American shoe. AND, there is a lot of variability in how each footbed and style fits. This site describes the different footbeds: http://www.footwise.com/Fittingroom/footbeds.cfm . Once you do know your size in the Classic (ie: Arizona) style, and which footbed you prefer, you can get the information you need to order online. The folks at the German website (info@birkenstock-cn.com) are very helpful, and will offer advise about the style you like if you can give them this basic information. It can take a couple days to hear back from them, but worth the wait because their return policy is not generous. If they don't fit, you are better off trying to resell them through a local ad or on EBay or Half.com.

The German website is notoriously buggy. I shop there when things are working (enter through the no-java, no-frames option) and then start emailing them to get details about stock availability and sizing. They always offer the option to place my order via email, and I take them up on it!

Now, there can be some guilt involved with using the salesperson's time when you have no intention to buy Birks from that store. I alleviate some of that by making sure I buy something before I leave--some expensive, cushy socks or a set of Birk insoles for my other shoes. I have even gotten my husband in on the act--if he tags along with me, he can end up with a nice new pair of shoes for his exceedingly normal feet.

Do spend the time and energy doing research before you buy--there's nothing worse than spending lots of $$ on ill-fitting shoes!

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

elliott on 7/30/01 at 12:18 (054812)

According to their charts, I'm a 44, or 45 at most (my regular shoe size is 11.5). According to my bike shoes, 11.5 directly converts to a 46 (or even a 47 when they play the crush-the-toes sizing games; I do have a somwehat narrower heel and wider forefoot). The Birk shoe (not sandal) I once ordered and returned I believe was a 46, and if anything, the length was short, while the instep was too wide. Also, some here posted that high arches are ideal for Birks. I'm more flat-footed. Does this mean the built-in arch support will jutt into my feet as happens with other shoes with built-in arch support? If there is a high built-in arch, maybe it's not for me, as I will never get used to that. I can show you literature which says that running shoes, for one, should preferably not have such an arch, as it's less likely one's arch will fit and certainly won't work for those with lower arches; better is to build in medial posts (denser midsole on medial side of shoe to prevent overpronation. (New Balance has the high arches and I can't wear any of their shoes; Asics has low arches and I can wear all of them, well, at least pre-TTS.)

Assuming the Arizona is good for my foot, if the Arizona owners here could please state their regular shoe size and Arizona Euro. By whether you match, go up, or down one from my chart should let me zone in on my size. You can't expect me to email a footbed impression to Birkenstock when I don't even want the darned sandals. :-) Thanks.

Re: Has this happened to anyone else?

Paula G. on 7/30/01 at 13:22 (054820)

I have not work water shoes, but when I get out of my good walking shoes that I have put pads in, I notice my feet have grown used to the support and hurt like the dickens....
Sometimes just taking off the shoe hurts.

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

Lisa C on 7/30/01 at 14:19 (054831)

Earlier posters have said that Birks translate too big. I wear an 8.5 and my latest Brooks are a 9. I was fitted in a specialized 'walking' shoe store and he ended up bringing me size 38 which would translate to a 7. This is also the size he recommended in the Birk inserts, though he started with a 39. I bought kids Birks using the Birks conversion chart and they were at least 2 sizes too big. 38 for me still allows the 1/4 inch room all around the footbed. If I got the size Birks recommends I would be walking on the toe grip area with the ball of my foot and thats painful. I would agreee, go get properly fitted and buy your first pair (or several socks, or inserts...) from your local shop, then future Birks from the German site. It might be cheaper in the long run, rather then ending up with the wrong size sghoes that injure your feet or that you won't wear. Also try the site recommended to you for fitting Birks, it describes each type of footbed in detail and recommends some be ordered a size larger, some for high arches, lower arch support, some for narrow heels... A wealth of info. I tried to order thru the German site and it took 3 days. It was in super slo-mo!

Re: funny! I just had to laugh...

Carmen H on 7/30/01 at 16:18 (054837)

I was giggling at your '35 miles away?' comment....THAT'S considered close here in Atlanta. My foot store is about 20 miles and that is a hop, skip and a jump for us Atlantans. I guess we're in the car sitting in traffic for so much of our travel time it's nothing to drive that many miles.
Where do you live?

Re: Must live in Germany!

Carmen on 7/30/01 at 16:21 (054838)

Whre do you live to get such a great price on Birks???

Re: funny! I just had to laugh...

Julie on 7/30/01 at 16:45 (054844)

He didn't say '35 miles', he said '35 minutes'. Unless he drives 60 miles an hour, average, the shop is a lot closer than 35 miles.

Re: Elliot

Julie on 7/30/01 at 16:54 (054845)

Hey! Nobody 'expects' you to do anything. And if you don't want Birkenstocks, don't buy them. Everybody is doing their best to help you, and all you do is keep saying 'yes but'. Have a heart.

If you are going to try them, Lisa is correct. You shouldn't guess at your size. I'll tell you mine, if you like, but if you act on that information and end up with a sandal you can't wear, you'd better not blame me.

My English size is 6 1/2. I'm not sure what that translates to in American. My Birk size (Arizona, I have no others) is 39.

If you don't pursue the Birks idea, please find something you can wear that supports your arches. No bare feet.

Re: Must live in Germany!

Nancy N on 7/30/01 at 18:36 (054853)

Carmen--

The German Birk website has the best prices around. Go to http://www.birkenstock-cn.com and check it out.

Re: it's not so funny; that's very far...

elliott on 7/30/01 at 19:05 (054856)

for sandals.

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

wendyn on 7/30/01 at 19:43 (054862)

Elliot - if you're really going to bite the bullet and try them - definetely go to a store for your first pair. You can try on lots - see what feels best - and find the least dorky looking.

If you decide they won't work for you - maybe you can find something like them that will work - maybe those Nike type rubber sandals for around the house?

Regardless - you are going to be better off if you find a way to avoid going barefoot?

Let me ask you something - when you go bare foot - do you walk and stand normally, or are you doing something funny with your feet or your toes? Pay attention tomorrow and let me know!

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/30/01 at hrmin (054869)

Orthotic wearers definitely need an alternative to going barefoot and Birks are a good way to go. I like the Nebraska model by Birkenstock. The Nebraska, like several of the newer models have a removable footbed. I remove the footbed and modify it so it feels and functions more like the patient's orthotics. If that is not enough, the next step is a custom Birk made from the patient's positive casts.
Ed

Re: Oh, re: Birks

nancy s. on 7/30/01 at 22:40 (054885)

Birks Are Beautiful.

Re: DITTO NANCY S !!!! EOM

Donna M on 7/30/01 at 23:05 (054887)

.

Re: Oh, re: Birks

Julie on 7/31/01 at 01:34 (054896)

Absolutely beautiful.

Re: Nancy N - help Dr. Z out

Dr. Zuckerman on 7/31/01 at 08:45 (054921)

Hi,

The telephone number you gave me won't connect. Give me a call at the office 1-856-848-3338. If I am with a pt just leave a number and best time to call. Strange that this number won't connect

DR. Zuckerman

Re: Birk sizing questions

john h on 7/31/01 at 09:03 (054928)

the only way for you to size the birk properly is to try them on at a shoe store in the states elliott. if a size 39 or 40 or whatever fits then you can order that shoe from the German site and it will fit. i posted some months ago a flyer that came in the birk shoe box on how to fit birk sandals. you can search it out.

Re: Birk sizing questions

john h on 7/31/01 at 09:30 (054935)

elliott: i wear a 10 1/2 D in an american shoe and wear a 43 Normal in the birk sandals.

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

john h on 7/31/01 at 09:44 (054940)

people should definitely try on a pair of the soft bed birk sandals jut to see how they feel.

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

Kathy M on 7/31/01 at 09:54 (054944)

Elliot,

I just had to respond, as did 30 others, I see! Forget about looking dorky - you have to get better! Comfort is the number one factor here - and eventual recovery. I have custom orthotics which I wear inside Asics Running shoes-constantly!!! I have 3 pairs of identical Asics - well, one is a different color - but that's it. When I started wearing them with my skirts, etc., my teenaged daughter asked me what people would think. I told her, 'They'll either think I have a terrible sense of style or they'll think I have bad feet!' I've worn these lovelies for the last six years (different styles of Asics as they discontinued the ones I was wearing). You have to understand, I just love shoes!! And I am so glad that I had a lot of them back when I could wear them! To think I never wore pointed toes or very high heels because I knew they were bad for my feet. A lot of good that did, huh? I do have a pair of custom Birks but they tend to knock my back out of kilter so I can only wear them a limited amount of time. I really think you need to find a pair of comfortable shoes and see if you can find some relief. Are there any cobblers in your area who could help to customize a pair of shoes to accommodate the mixed needs of each foot? We have one nearby who is great. Good luck!

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

john h on 7/31/01 at 20:16 (055011)

i wear birks without socks to work all the time. of coursemy boss wears shorts and loafers with no socks to work all the timeand he is a multi millionaire. i do not wear socks with my birks to work (sorry judy).

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

elliott on 7/29/01 at 15:39 (054710)

Many of us feel different pain levels in different shoes. The water shoes probably have no medial support whatsoever, hence the increased pain. Looks like you may have to dispense with the water shoes altogether.

Speaking of dorky, I've had trouble wearing almost any shoes whatsoever (TTS problems in left foot, although likely PF in right foot with different needs than left foot complicates things further--right prefers cushioned, left hard), so when I get to work, I take off the only thing I can tolerate right now--a pair of boots (in summer!)--and walk around in my socks (never tried Birks, but you know, sandals look real dorky with a tie). It's been seven months already; sure hope this ends.

Re: Do you NOT wear shoes?

Carmen H on 7/29/01 at 17:40 (054711)

Elliott....
You probably know better then me on your own feet and what works for you...but in my very limited opinion (only had this PF about 8 weeks) you should not be walking around without shoes AT ALL. Socks are no better then barefeet....there's no support in most regular socks so your feet are just taking an additional beating after you get home. JUST my opinion as I said but I truly think you should try wearing shoes AT ALL times and see what happens?

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

wendyn on 7/29/01 at 17:53 (054715)

Elliot - I think carmen is right. Stocking feet for you is probably a no no.

Yes, Birks and a tie looks pretty dorky. So do Birks, nylons and a business skirt suit in the winter time. If my ego can take it - so can yours. Humiliation is good for the soul.

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

Beverly on 7/29/01 at 19:49 (054732)

I no longer think Birks look dorky. I really miss mine since going to orthodics, but the orthodics help my ankles.

I don't think I need to give up the Chaco's because I've worn them with success in the shower for over a year, and all summer out by the pool. But I walked around the pool and hot tub alot more this weekend than I usually do... going from pool to hot tub and back and forth. It appears that it was just too much. But I'm wondering if this has happened to the rest of you... especially since swimming is a popular sport for PF'ers. I was not swimming. My pool activities fall more in the 'floaty with beach book' catagory.

This is just frustrating because every time I think I am doing better and stop paying so much attention to my feet, something happens.
Thanks,
Beverly

Re: You're right, but what can I do?

elliott on 7/29/01 at 20:37 (054738)

It just gets too hot and uncomfortable with boots on the whole time. In most shoes (all that I own and the many I've tried, and it's very many), the pain level in my left foot (tingling due to TTS) jumps in minutes to an 8 (with 10 being a request for amputation), but without shoes it feels almost normal. Note: this is post-op, with the TTS release having been performed by one of the best in the US. I can't blame him; that's the way it turned out. I certainly have much less pain with no shoes on now than I did before surgery, but alas, that's some tradeoff. It's a shame with the shoes, too, because what I'm almost certain is PF in the right foot (which is also TTS post-op but with different possibly non-TTS symptoms, some still lingering, with the PF in this foot probably having contributed to my initial symtpoms) felt so much better with the prescribed hard orthotics I have, but the only shoes the orthotics will fit in give me that 8 in the left foot.

If you want the ultimate dorky, there was a while when I was wearing NON-MATCHING SHOES!! (And yes, my co-workers noticed.) I might go back to that, but there are problems with that as well (e.g. back takes a beating due to the imbalance, not too good for the sciatica I have which was apparently caused by a bulging L4-L5 disc).

I still have hope, for both feet. I'm going to keep searching for more shoes and might get lucky. I'm considering getting what might be a lucky cortisone shot in that left foot (as the source of pain is quite localized, much more so post-op). I've been doing some power yoga stretches on my feet which may be helping for both (I'll post about them later when it's clear how useful it is), and especially the weak right one, which was near utter collapse two months ago but is now seemingly progressing, including the PF (otherwise, I probably would heed your advice to at least keep on those boots; I may still, so thanks). And while I still have some trouble walking, amazingly, I am now able to cycle hard in my road bike at least every other day, so I have one outlet in life I still eft. You can't imagine how happy that makes me. The foot felt the best it's been months after a 35-mile ride. Unbelievable. For me the feeling is equivalent to Wendy's hiking (it's not quite a high as running was to me, but hey, I'll have to live with that). I think the cycling broke up the debilitating scar tissue in that right foot, and that one pair of cycling shoes does not irritate the left foot too much (now if only I could walk in cleats and stiff forefoot :-)).

Re: Oh, re: Birks

elliott on 7/29/01 at 22:47 (054744)

I did order a pair of Birk shoes through the mail in my size (not the sandals, the looks of which I just don't like--hey, not all men are sandals-kinds-of-guys--but the shoe versions look weird and ugly too), but they didn't fit (they were too loose at the instep, so when laced the eyestays touched without the shoe being sufficiently tight), so I returned them. Maybe I should try the sandals. Wonder if the straps will miss that irrtated area in my left foot. Also, those grooves in the soles look like they'll never work. And did I mention I don't like the look of sandals?

Re: oops! text correction

elliott on 7/29/01 at 22:52 (054745)

It should've read, 'The foot felt the best it's been *in* months after a 35-mile ride.'

Re: Oh, re: Birks

wendyn on 7/29/01 at 23:14 (054747)

elliot - did I mention it doesn't matter if you like the way they look?

;)

If you get the sandals _without_ the back strap - they should not rub anywhere that is affected by TTS. The sandal backstrap would though. You may find that you like them (sandals) better because they are loose and don't squeeze your feet. You can get hard footbeds for lots of support - or softer ones for cushioning (they come in a few styles). If you want to spend twice as much you could by 1 pair of each and then mix and match to suit your feet needs!!!!

Even if you will not wear them out of the house - maybe you would wear them in your house with all of the curtains closed.

The groves on the soles work - for what most people need them for. They do not work on ice. I have tried.

I used to wear nylons and cute high heels - I would not have been caught dead in a pair of Birks (unless I really was at the beach). You do what you have to do.

I have said many times that I would wear maxi pads on my feet if I thought it would help.

Someone else here had a good one like that but I can't remember what it was.

Re: Birkies, Beverly?

Julie on 7/30/01 at 01:38 (054753)

Beverly, have you ever tried Birkies? The - the footbed is slightly different, the arch not as high, and they have no 'give', but they're probably the closest thing in the water shoe department to to 'real' Birks. You might get away with them on your treks from pool-to-hot-tub-to-lounger.

Re: PF and bare/stocking feet - the Big Nono!

Julie on 7/30/01 at 02:14 (054756)

Elliot, I'm sorry to add to the general clamour, but - you guessed it, Carmen and Wendy are right, and the reason they are right is that if you do have PF, and you seem to think you have, going barefoot is causing further injury to the plantar fascia with every step you take.

Socks-without-shoes is the same as going barefoot.

You've simply got to re-think your priorities. Hot feet? Don't like the look of Birks,or whatever? Wouldn't be seen dead in anything that makes you look (your idea of) a dork?

Doesn't matter. Forget it. No bare feet. Your arches need support ALL the time. You want to get rid of your PF, don't you? More than anything else? So you can get back to running?

In the long struggle with PF, sometimes what we don't do is as important as what we 'do'. No bare feet.

If orthotics help you, Birkenstocks probably will too. If they suit you, you'll get to love them - yes, even the look of them. The Arizona sandals, which quite a few of us have, are a nice, simple shape: like the foot. And after all, some folks might say it's the tie that's the dorky bit. I agree with Wendy's advice that you should get the version without back straps. It's not the back straps that keep the sandals on, but the way your feet are encouraged to walk in them: your toes are meant to grip the toe bar as the foot rolls forward, and release as it lifts from the ground. (In this way, and not just because of the contours of the footbed, Birks fulfil a therapeutic function: they exercise the entire musculature of the foot.)

They've got to be the right size, which may not be the same as your normal size, so don't buy them on line until you've been properly fitted by a knowledgeable salesperson in a specialist shop. If you don't have such a shop near you, the various Birk websites usually offer some kind of fitting advice - on some you can send a tracing of your foot. The correct size always look too big: the rim should overlap the forefoot and heel by at least a quarter inch. And the straps should be fairly loose so that your feet can 'work': you should be able to slip your fingers under them.

The German Birkenstock website, http://www.birkenstock-cn.com has the lowest prices.

Have we persuaded you? Maybe not. Well - there are always the cleats... speaking of which, I'm very glad the biking is giving you such pleasure. It really is vital to have something we love doing. Not sure, though, about power yoga - very, very strong weight-bearing exercise. Take care with it.

All the best

Julie

Re: The Walking Co...

Carmen H on 7/30/01 at 08:42 (054774)

Do you have a 'The Walking Co.' store near you? The shoes I tried on there felt like heaven and they have lots of styles of Mephistos as well.....it's just a matter of what style you like. There are many to choose and they have sales too! Important!! Sales!!!
My sister used to hate Birks too...said they were the 'ugliest' shoes she had ever seen. She doesn't mind them so much now. They grow on you.
Oh..by the way...with a tie they say 'I'm confident enough to wear these and with a tie and get away with it' I promise.

Re: Birk sizing questions

elliott on 7/30/01 at 10:59 (054799)

OK, you got me at least thinking. Thanks for that Web site; it seems to take forever to load, though, and after going all the way through to the order level, I finally get, in German only, what I think is a message that they're out of stock in that model (they forgot to put that message in English!). I do know of a mailorder place which has them. I have the sizing chart in front of me, but the Euro sizing and corresponding US sizing listed in parentheses don't match what I'm used to with other purchases (e.g. bike shoes); the Birk Euro seems much smaller in the conversion than its corresponding US.

Could some of you state the size of your regular non-Birk shoes and the Euro size of the Birks you have (e.g. women's 8.5, Birk 39)? (Julie, you probably know the UK conversion to US; if not, list the UK.) That way, I'll be better able to guess my Birk size. Thanks so much.

Re: I checked the Web...

elliott on 7/30/01 at 11:01 (054800)

closest is around 35 minutes away. All that for sandals?!?

Thanks; I'll keep it in mind.

Re: Birkies and Chacos

LisaCO on 7/30/01 at 11:07 (054801)

Beverly,
I have a pair of Chacos, and a pair of Birkies that I got a couple of months ago. (Birkies with purple soles and the gaudiest green printed uppers! Only available on the German web site--gotta love the fashion sense-of-humor of the Europeans!) I have worn the Chacos for more than a year for showering, yard work and to the pool. I wear the Birkies 90% of the time now.

Both sandals are about equal as far as stiffness of the sole is concerned, but both will flex a good bit if you twist them laterally. That's wju O have switched to the Birkies--my heel would slip in the Chacos. The heel 'cup' in the Chacos is not defined enough for me--too flat. The y have about the same amount of arch support/height (not enough for me, though) but the arch is more defined in the Birkies. I get a suction-cup sound when I take the Birkies off my wet foot.

Where they really differ is in their outsoles--the Chacos are WAY more secure in the water. I still use my Chacos for getting in and out of the pool, and for honest-to-goodness river adventures. OK, they also really differ in price--$90 for my Chacos vs. $37 for my Birkies (from Germany, shipping included).

YMMV statement:
My foot has been described by Birk fitters as an 'ideal' Birk foot--high arch, narrow heel, prehensile toes--although my foot is a bit 'low volume' so I like lots of straps for adjustments. I am a perfect fit in most of the Tatami line, so weight my observations accordingly.

Re: Birk sizing questions

LisaCO on 7/30/01 at 11:50 (054808)

You're better off not guessing, Elliott. I have 6 pairs of Birks, and all but two are different sizes! I wear an 8 US Women's, but anywhere from a 39 Narrow to a 41 Regular in Birks.

If at all possible, do go to an experienced Birk fitter and be fitted. Julie's right--it is difficult to fit yourself in your first pair because they fit so differently from any American shoe. AND, there is a lot of variability in how each footbed and style fits. This site describes the different footbeds: http://www.footwise.com/Fittingroom/footbeds.cfm . Once you do know your size in the Classic (ie: Arizona) style, and which footbed you prefer, you can get the information you need to order online. The folks at the German website (info@birkenstock-cn.com) are very helpful, and will offer advise about the style you like if you can give them this basic information. It can take a couple days to hear back from them, but worth the wait because their return policy is not generous. If they don't fit, you are better off trying to resell them through a local ad or on EBay or Half.com.

The German website is notoriously buggy. I shop there when things are working (enter through the no-java, no-frames option) and then start emailing them to get details about stock availability and sizing. They always offer the option to place my order via email, and I take them up on it!

Now, there can be some guilt involved with using the salesperson's time when you have no intention to buy Birks from that store. I alleviate some of that by making sure I buy something before I leave--some expensive, cushy socks or a set of Birk insoles for my other shoes. I have even gotten my husband in on the act--if he tags along with me, he can end up with a nice new pair of shoes for his exceedingly normal feet.

Do spend the time and energy doing research before you buy--there's nothing worse than spending lots of $$ on ill-fitting shoes!

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

elliott on 7/30/01 at 12:18 (054812)

According to their charts, I'm a 44, or 45 at most (my regular shoe size is 11.5). According to my bike shoes, 11.5 directly converts to a 46 (or even a 47 when they play the crush-the-toes sizing games; I do have a somwehat narrower heel and wider forefoot). The Birk shoe (not sandal) I once ordered and returned I believe was a 46, and if anything, the length was short, while the instep was too wide. Also, some here posted that high arches are ideal for Birks. I'm more flat-footed. Does this mean the built-in arch support will jutt into my feet as happens with other shoes with built-in arch support? If there is a high built-in arch, maybe it's not for me, as I will never get used to that. I can show you literature which says that running shoes, for one, should preferably not have such an arch, as it's less likely one's arch will fit and certainly won't work for those with lower arches; better is to build in medial posts (denser midsole on medial side of shoe to prevent overpronation. (New Balance has the high arches and I can't wear any of their shoes; Asics has low arches and I can wear all of them, well, at least pre-TTS.)

Assuming the Arizona is good for my foot, if the Arizona owners here could please state their regular shoe size and Arizona Euro. By whether you match, go up, or down one from my chart should let me zone in on my size. You can't expect me to email a footbed impression to Birkenstock when I don't even want the darned sandals. :-) Thanks.

Re: Has this happened to anyone else?

Paula G. on 7/30/01 at 13:22 (054820)

I have not work water shoes, but when I get out of my good walking shoes that I have put pads in, I notice my feet have grown used to the support and hurt like the dickens....
Sometimes just taking off the shoe hurts.

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

Lisa C on 7/30/01 at 14:19 (054831)

Earlier posters have said that Birks translate too big. I wear an 8.5 and my latest Brooks are a 9. I was fitted in a specialized 'walking' shoe store and he ended up bringing me size 38 which would translate to a 7. This is also the size he recommended in the Birk inserts, though he started with a 39. I bought kids Birks using the Birks conversion chart and they were at least 2 sizes too big. 38 for me still allows the 1/4 inch room all around the footbed. If I got the size Birks recommends I would be walking on the toe grip area with the ball of my foot and thats painful. I would agreee, go get properly fitted and buy your first pair (or several socks, or inserts...) from your local shop, then future Birks from the German site. It might be cheaper in the long run, rather then ending up with the wrong size sghoes that injure your feet or that you won't wear. Also try the site recommended to you for fitting Birks, it describes each type of footbed in detail and recommends some be ordered a size larger, some for high arches, lower arch support, some for narrow heels... A wealth of info. I tried to order thru the German site and it took 3 days. It was in super slo-mo!

Re: funny! I just had to laugh...

Carmen H on 7/30/01 at 16:18 (054837)

I was giggling at your '35 miles away?' comment....THAT'S considered close here in Atlanta. My foot store is about 20 miles and that is a hop, skip and a jump for us Atlantans. I guess we're in the car sitting in traffic for so much of our travel time it's nothing to drive that many miles.
Where do you live?

Re: Must live in Germany!

Carmen on 7/30/01 at 16:21 (054838)

Whre do you live to get such a great price on Birks???

Re: funny! I just had to laugh...

Julie on 7/30/01 at 16:45 (054844)

He didn't say '35 miles', he said '35 minutes'. Unless he drives 60 miles an hour, average, the shop is a lot closer than 35 miles.

Re: Elliot

Julie on 7/30/01 at 16:54 (054845)

Hey! Nobody 'expects' you to do anything. And if you don't want Birkenstocks, don't buy them. Everybody is doing their best to help you, and all you do is keep saying 'yes but'. Have a heart.

If you are going to try them, Lisa is correct. You shouldn't guess at your size. I'll tell you mine, if you like, but if you act on that information and end up with a sandal you can't wear, you'd better not blame me.

My English size is 6 1/2. I'm not sure what that translates to in American. My Birk size (Arizona, I have no others) is 39.

If you don't pursue the Birks idea, please find something you can wear that supports your arches. No bare feet.

Re: Must live in Germany!

Nancy N on 7/30/01 at 18:36 (054853)

Carmen--

The German Birk website has the best prices around. Go to http://www.birkenstock-cn.com and check it out.

Re: it's not so funny; that's very far...

elliott on 7/30/01 at 19:05 (054856)

for sandals.

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

wendyn on 7/30/01 at 19:43 (054862)

Elliot - if you're really going to bite the bullet and try them - definetely go to a store for your first pair. You can try on lots - see what feels best - and find the least dorky looking.

If you decide they won't work for you - maybe you can find something like them that will work - maybe those Nike type rubber sandals for around the house?

Regardless - you are going to be better off if you find a way to avoid going barefoot?

Let me ask you something - when you go bare foot - do you walk and stand normally, or are you doing something funny with your feet or your toes? Pay attention tomorrow and let me know!

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

Ed Davis, DPM on 7/30/01 at hrmin (054869)

Orthotic wearers definitely need an alternative to going barefoot and Birks are a good way to go. I like the Nebraska model by Birkenstock. The Nebraska, like several of the newer models have a removable footbed. I remove the footbed and modify it so it feels and functions more like the patient's orthotics. If that is not enough, the next step is a custom Birk made from the patient's positive casts.
Ed

Re: Oh, re: Birks

nancy s. on 7/30/01 at 22:40 (054885)

Birks Are Beautiful.

Re: DITTO NANCY S !!!! EOM

Donna M on 7/30/01 at 23:05 (054887)

.

Re: Oh, re: Birks

Julie on 7/31/01 at 01:34 (054896)

Absolutely beautiful.

Re: Nancy N - help Dr. Z out

Dr. Zuckerman on 7/31/01 at 08:45 (054921)

Hi,

The telephone number you gave me won't connect. Give me a call at the office 1-856-848-3338. If I am with a pt just leave a number and best time to call. Strange that this number won't connect

DR. Zuckerman

Re: Birk sizing questions

john h on 7/31/01 at 09:03 (054928)

the only way for you to size the birk properly is to try them on at a shoe store in the states elliott. if a size 39 or 40 or whatever fits then you can order that shoe from the German site and it will fit. i posted some months ago a flyer that came in the birk shoe box on how to fit birk sandals. you can search it out.

Re: Birk sizing questions

john h on 7/31/01 at 09:30 (054935)

elliott: i wear a 10 1/2 D in an american shoe and wear a 43 Normal in the birk sandals.

Re: it's the Arizona I'm considering

john h on 7/31/01 at 09:44 (054940)

people should definitely try on a pair of the soft bed birk sandals jut to see how they feel.

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

Kathy M on 7/31/01 at 09:54 (054944)

Elliot,

I just had to respond, as did 30 others, I see! Forget about looking dorky - you have to get better! Comfort is the number one factor here - and eventual recovery. I have custom orthotics which I wear inside Asics Running shoes-constantly!!! I have 3 pairs of identical Asics - well, one is a different color - but that's it. When I started wearing them with my skirts, etc., my teenaged daughter asked me what people would think. I told her, 'They'll either think I have a terrible sense of style or they'll think I have bad feet!' I've worn these lovelies for the last six years (different styles of Asics as they discontinued the ones I was wearing). You have to understand, I just love shoes!! And I am so glad that I had a lot of them back when I could wear them! To think I never wore pointed toes or very high heels because I knew they were bad for my feet. A lot of good that did, huh? I do have a pair of custom Birks but they tend to knock my back out of kilter so I can only wear them a limited amount of time. I really think you need to find a pair of comfortable shoes and see if you can find some relief. Are there any cobblers in your area who could help to customize a pair of shoes to accommodate the mixed needs of each foot? We have one nearby who is great. Good luck!

Re: it's probably happened to *everyone* else

john h on 7/31/01 at 20:16 (055011)

i wear birks without socks to work all the time. of coursemy boss wears shorts and loafers with no socks to work all the timeand he is a multi millionaire. i do not wear socks with my birks to work (sorry judy).