Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Posted by Aerumna on 9/19/01 at 15:30 (060967)

Do you wear Berkenstocks without heel strap?

I went to the doctor today and he said that i might have tendonitis on the top left side of my foot. I wear Berkenstocks that do not have a stap that runs around the back of the heel. I wear them ALL the time. I noticed awhile ago that my calf tenses up but didn't relate the two. after reading info on this website i learned that this prolonged tenseness in the calf muscle can cause damage in the foot in whatever area breaks down first due to this condition. A friend of mine also has tendonitis and wears berkenstocks without a heel strap. Curiously, the same foot has the injury: the left foot.

I believe that the left foot is slightly smaller the right on most people (just as the left hand is definitely slightly smaller than the right hand) My hypothesis is that consequently the left shoe doesn't fit properly. This results in ppl curling their toes or making other adjustments to prevent the shoe from falling off when they are walking that results in tension. Over a long period of time (I have been wearing Berkenstocks without a heel strap for several years) I believe (and mind you i am not a doctor) this may result in tendonitis or other injuries. I would like to know whether anyone else notices pain/increased pain while wearing berkenstocks without a heel strap. thank you.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Suzanne D on 9/19/01 at 16:07 (060974)

I have been wearing Birkenstocks without the back strap (Arizonas) almost all the time for over a month. I didn't notice improvement in my PF until wearing them, so I was so thrilled! Then about a week and a half ago, I walked too much and pushed it a little too hard, and the next day the top of both my feet began hurting. I thought to myself, 'What have I done?' I finally started wearing my tennis shoes with inserts to get relief for the tops of my feet. They don't hurt wearing the tennis shoes. When I put the Arizonas back on, the right foot (the one which never hurt as badly with the PF)still has pain across the top, but it has lessened. I have been wondering if it is tendonitis due to too much stress with the sandals. Mine fit loosely as I understood they were supposed to. How about you? I go back to the dr. tomorrow and am going to inquire about it to him.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Valerie S on 9/20/01 at 00:31 (061026)

Hi.
I have been wearing Birkenstocks exclusively for the last 8 years or so. A year ago, I developed PF, I believe because I let my shoes wear out. I resoled them a few times, but the footbed was worn out and I didn't realize it until I got a new pair.

I wore the full-shoe type (London) for work, the clog style (Boston) and the Arizona sandal for the rest of the time. I have wide feet and love the way they let my toes spread out, which helps prevent my ingrown toenails from flaring up. In other words, I have found lots of benefits from the Birks.

My PF is in both feet, but much stronger in my right than left, although the heelspur is bigger in the left. Just another statistic for your theory... I continue to wear the Boston and Arizona styles, neither of which have the back heel strap. The only adverse effect I have had from the lack of strap is when my foot rarely slips back or I am not paying attention, and I step on that ridge around the heelcup... OUCH.

Best of luck to you. I hope you find relief soon. I wonder if you and your friend have anything else in common, to make you both have the same injury to the left foot... ie: driving or some other activity or environmental influence. Just a thought...

Take it easy... Val.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Jenzilla on 9/20/01 at 16:58 (061091)

It's true that one foot is typically slightly larger than the other. (In my case, my left foot is a teensy bit bigger, though I'm right-handed.) This could cause trouble with the fit of your shoes, and it's generally recommended that you buy to fit your bigger foot and make adjustments to the other, if necessary (or possible!) Slides (with no heel straps) do cause extra tension - you have to tense up a bit more just to keep the shoe on; most of that tension will be in your toes. It's a slight amount of tension that someone with no foot problems would hardly notice, but it could well be enough to cause problems for someone with PF. Good fit would be of paramount importance with slides.

I used to work in retail selling shoes (mostly dress shoes, both men's and women's). Personally, I've always hated slides and avoid them like the plague. I don't know who gets paid to design that crap that many women consider 'nice dress shoes', but they should be put in stocks and have little used footy hose flung at them! I used to regularly wait on women that couldn't wear heels under a certain height because their tendons had shrunk, or myriad other foot problems caused by their ill-fitting shoes. (sigh) I guess the designers are giving people what they want. To be fair, men can be just as bad. And I couldn't convince many people that their feet were capable of changing through their lives, or that one foot could indeed be bigger than the other. Oh, sorry, returning the soapbox now.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Suzanne D on 9/20/01 at 18:22 (061095)

Today when I went to the Pod, I told him about the tops of my feet hurting. He asked if he could put something in my sandals, and then he cut some type of foam material that is sticky on the back to fit the arches in both Arizona sandals. It is somewhere between 1/4' and 1/2' thick. He did not feel that I had enough support with my high arches. They do feel better with this extra support so far.

Just thought I'd follow up what I wrote in answer to your inquiry yesterday. My best to you.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Suzanne D on 9/19/01 at 16:07 (060974)

I have been wearing Birkenstocks without the back strap (Arizonas) almost all the time for over a month. I didn't notice improvement in my PF until wearing them, so I was so thrilled! Then about a week and a half ago, I walked too much and pushed it a little too hard, and the next day the top of both my feet began hurting. I thought to myself, 'What have I done?' I finally started wearing my tennis shoes with inserts to get relief for the tops of my feet. They don't hurt wearing the tennis shoes. When I put the Arizonas back on, the right foot (the one which never hurt as badly with the PF)still has pain across the top, but it has lessened. I have been wondering if it is tendonitis due to too much stress with the sandals. Mine fit loosely as I understood they were supposed to. How about you? I go back to the dr. tomorrow and am going to inquire about it to him.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Valerie S on 9/20/01 at 00:31 (061026)

Hi.
I have been wearing Birkenstocks exclusively for the last 8 years or so. A year ago, I developed PF, I believe because I let my shoes wear out. I resoled them a few times, but the footbed was worn out and I didn't realize it until I got a new pair.

I wore the full-shoe type (London) for work, the clog style (Boston) and the Arizona sandal for the rest of the time. I have wide feet and love the way they let my toes spread out, which helps prevent my ingrown toenails from flaring up. In other words, I have found lots of benefits from the Birks.

My PF is in both feet, but much stronger in my right than left, although the heelspur is bigger in the left. Just another statistic for your theory... I continue to wear the Boston and Arizona styles, neither of which have the back heel strap. The only adverse effect I have had from the lack of strap is when my foot rarely slips back or I am not paying attention, and I step on that ridge around the heelcup... OUCH.

Best of luck to you. I hope you find relief soon. I wonder if you and your friend have anything else in common, to make you both have the same injury to the left foot... ie: driving or some other activity or environmental influence. Just a thought...

Take it easy... Val.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Jenzilla on 9/20/01 at 16:58 (061091)

It's true that one foot is typically slightly larger than the other. (In my case, my left foot is a teensy bit bigger, though I'm right-handed.) This could cause trouble with the fit of your shoes, and it's generally recommended that you buy to fit your bigger foot and make adjustments to the other, if necessary (or possible!) Slides (with no heel straps) do cause extra tension - you have to tense up a bit more just to keep the shoe on; most of that tension will be in your toes. It's a slight amount of tension that someone with no foot problems would hardly notice, but it could well be enough to cause problems for someone with PF. Good fit would be of paramount importance with slides.

I used to work in retail selling shoes (mostly dress shoes, both men's and women's). Personally, I've always hated slides and avoid them like the plague. I don't know who gets paid to design that crap that many women consider 'nice dress shoes', but they should be put in stocks and have little used footy hose flung at them! I used to regularly wait on women that couldn't wear heels under a certain height because their tendons had shrunk, or myriad other foot problems caused by their ill-fitting shoes. (sigh) I guess the designers are giving people what they want. To be fair, men can be just as bad. And I couldn't convince many people that their feet were capable of changing through their lives, or that one foot could indeed be bigger than the other. Oh, sorry, returning the soapbox now.

Re: Do you wear Berkenstocks without a heel strap? Does your foot hurt after wearing them?

Suzanne D on 9/20/01 at 18:22 (061095)

Today when I went to the Pod, I told him about the tops of my feet hurting. He asked if he could put something in my sandals, and then he cut some type of foam material that is sticky on the back to fit the arches in both Arizona sandals. It is somewhere between 1/4' and 1/2' thick. He did not feel that I had enough support with my high arches. They do feel better with this extra support so far.

Just thought I'd follow up what I wrote in answer to your inquiry yesterday. My best to you.