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Donna SL...

Posted by Suzanne D on 5/11/02 at 15:45 (083549)

Hello, Donna! I don't think I've ever corresponded with you directly on the board although I've read with interest and admiration your posts about shoes! You seem to be an expert, and I thank you for all the time you take to explain what you know to others. I admit that I don't know much about shoes, and everything I DO know I have learned on this board!

If you have time to read it, I explain some of my foot situation in the post below which is written to Rachael and Carole. I would like to ask your opinion about shoes, if you don't mind.

The short version is that I am a 49 year old first grade teacher recovering from PF (better, but still a ways to go!). I have a long (women's 11), thin foot with high arches (my observation and also told to me by my pod) which seem to flatten to normal when standing (based on the wet cardboard test). I have a narrow heel yet medium width across the widest part of the foot. My feet feel best when wearing SAS walking shoes with the 3/4 length light blue Birk inserts.

Do you think there's a better, more supportive shoe for me which would further aid my healing? I know this would just be your opinion, but I am interested in it. I looked at the Taconic shoe on the internet which you wrote about. I also read about the New Balance and stay mostly confused about all the different numbers and their attributes.

I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. I live in the country and don't have easy access to stores which might have really knowlegeable sales people.

I thank you!
Suzanne :-)

Re: Donna SL...

Suzanne D on 5/11/02 at 20:25 (083570)

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for the compliment. I just saw your post, but I don't have time to write too much now, because I'm getting ready to go out. Your feet sound like one of my feet (right one sort of feels like the arch collapses. I also have narrow heels, high arches, etc. I may have some ideas, but I will need more information. I'll try to get back to you tommorrow. In the intermim could you tell me if you ever had a gait analysis? Has anyone told you if you have a plantar flexed first ray, ankle equinus (formally measured your ankle flexibility), over supinate, etc.? The SAS is a nice shoe, but it didn't work for me a while back when I tried it when my foot was in worse shape (it may feel different now), but if you have a similar foot type like mine you may benefit from a different shoe. This is a tough foot type for shoes, and orthotics.

I'm not that familiar where most of your pain is, and what kind of pain you are having, ie. burning, aching, etc. Also, could you tell me if it gets worse after you stand for a while, or as the day goes on, or is it just bad when you first get up, or after sitting a while?

Also, there are plenty of on-line stores with good return polices. I'll be able to supply some of them too.

Donna

Re: To Suzanne D

Donna SL on 5/12/02 at 10:24 (083616)

Hi Suzanne,

Opps! I just realized I put your name in the 'posted by' area instead of mine, and put my name instead of yours in the subject area in the above post. I must be getting old ha. ha. Anyway I hope you saw the post.

Donna

Re: to Donna...

Suzanne D on 5/12/02 at 12:09 (083621)

Thank you, Donna, for your response and for taking the time to write to me even when you were busy getting ready to go somewhere. I will try to give you a little more information and try to be concise. Sometimes I tend to go on and on...:-)

A bit of history - many years of teaching in a non-air conditioned school led to the habit of wearing sandals in warm weather. My arches would hurt sometimes now and then (tile floors as well), but I didn't know it could lead to something serious or that it could be long-lasting. My SAS slip-on shoes which I wore during cool/cold weather did feel better than the sandals.

Nine years ago I came to a new school - luckily, one with wooden floors and thin carpet. I immediately noticed these floors made my feet feel less tired.

Five years ago our school district adopted an alternative calendar with 4 week-long intersessions throughout the year, held in a few of the schools. I always taught in those, in newer buildings with the tile floors again.

In Oct. 2000, during one of those intersessions, my left foot really started hurting - sharp and in the arch. I wrapped my foot with an ace bandage and made it through the week. The pain stopped after that week was over.

Then in June 2001 at the same school, my foot hurt again, worse this time. I limped and walked on the outside of my foot as the arch and heel hurt - sharp pain. I searched the drug store for anything to help and bought some inserts for my shoes.

The next week I went to the doctor. He told me it was PF and gave me a paper to read. It explained the condition and advised stretching (wall and pulling on toes) and icing which I did. He said I was doing 'all the right things' and, 'This won't be over any time soon.'

I literally limped through the summer, but I thought I was doing all I could. After the first week of school in August, I was in such pain I was in tears. That Friday night I searched the internet, found Heelspurs.com and read for hours. The next day I found a Birkenstock store in a nearby city and bought Arizonas, giving me some relief.

I begged my dr. for a referral to a podiatrist and got an appointment with one in Louisville. He x-rayed, wrapped my feet (By then, both hurt.), confirmed the daignosis, said to stretch, gave a week of prednisone, then Naproxin. He never mentioned a gait analysis or the other things you asked about. I didn't know of such until I read more and more here.

I continued to go to him, asked him what about my feet could have caused this and he said my particular type of foot was prone to it. (?) My referrals ran out after a few visits, and by then I was much improved, but credit that as much to what I've learned and applied here as to what he did.

I learned to do non-weight bearing stretches, wore the Birks, iced, took the Naproxin, and tried to rest my feet as much as I could. About two months ago my Birks stopped feeling so good and I switched to SAS walking shoes with the Birk inserts. I thought I had turned a corner in healing, but a week or so ago I wore my Birk sandals again for a couple of days and the pain (arch, heel) started up again, although nothing like it was earlier.

My feet hurt worst when I first get up or get out of the car after riding for some time or after sitting for a long time. I stretch first, but they still hurt. After being on them for very long, they feel tired even if they don't hurt.

I hope I haven't rambled too much. Thank you! I must close now, and I hope this has helped you understand a little better.

Thank you again.
Suzanne :-)

Re: Suzanne...

Donna SL on 5/13/02 at 03:43 (083678)

Hi Suzanne,

It sounds like you just have classic PF, and no other nerve problems thank goodness. I didn't know your background so had to ask. It's hard to know without seeing your feet, so I can only guess, and make some suggestions of what may help your foot type. If you have an ankle equinus then a little lift in the back of the shoe would put less strain on your foot. Probably switching to the lower heel height of the birks after wearing the SAS shoes might have caused a flare up. Have you worn your birks at home in between wearing the SAS shoes? Also, if your foot rolls out somewhat you need a shoe with a strong heel counter which sandals don't provide. You may also have developed that gait when you said you rolled your feet to the outsides for pain relief. I'm sure the extra mobility of your feet in the birks didn't help either. I never had success with Birks. Most of them killed my feet. The ones they had for 'high arches' were even worse because they felt even more rigid, and pushed my foot out more, just like a bad pair of orthotics. The high arch in them also restricts foot motion where it is needed. I've been to the Birkenstock flagship store here, and the sales people said they couldn't honestly recommmend them for my foot type. (I have very high arched feet). My pod felt the same way. I think they are probably great for a normal, or flat foot type without any severe biomechanical problems.

Most rigid high arched feet need a supportive shoe with a strong heel counter, a decent heel lift, good mid-foot support, and a flexible well cushioned forefoot. If you over supinate (feet roll out too much) then you also need to look for a shoe that is very firm on the lateral, and possibly the medial side, because you could have some midstance, or forefoot pronation from the foot rolling out too much, and then rolling in to gain ground. The over supination rocking type motion, or the ankle equinus could make the arch feel like it's collapsing. The equal firmness on both sides will help keep your foot more neutral. Stay away from shoes that have too soft of a midsole material other than the forefoot area. Also, a shoe with a straighter last helps too. The SAS shoe felt a little soft to me, and didn't seem to have the firmest heel counter, but it seems like it would work with an orthotic, and is basically a nice shoe. The birk inserts aren't bad for OTC orthotics, but don't offer lateral support if you need that. Sometimes a small lateral wedge under the birks otc might help, but a pod should give you that. Also, have you tried going without the birk inserts too see how your feet feel without them? Maybe they are too rigid.

If the SAS shoes work for you then stick with them, or something very similar, but maybe find one with a slightly firmer heel counter, and midfoot area. The Rockport world tour might work, because it has a steel shank, and very snug heel area, and comes in narrow widths, but the shoe runs on the narrow side anyway, so a medium might work well with the birk inserts. The Taconic is a nice shoe too, but the World tour might give you an even snugger fit in the heel, yet it might not feel as cushy at first. You really need to try both, and may dislike both of them. They are both supportive shoes though, but I just like the feel of the Taconic better. Munro makes some nice shoes in widths, with good support, and offers a dressier look. Nordstroms carries these. They have them on the Nordstroms on-line store too. I had mentioned several more brands of shoes in a post I made to Carole C. a little while back.

I really can't recommend many athletic shoes unless you find a good neutral supportive cross trainer, or trail shoe. I don't think NB makes any decent shoes at all for rigid high arched feet. If your arches aren't too high, and you don't over supinate, and your PF pain isn't that bad then the 879 running shoe might work. In most of the NB shoes though I feel the heel area/cushion is too soft, and their neutral shoes are just too mushy in general, especially on the lateral side. I haven't found one shoe in their line I can wear, yet I've found shoes from Adidas, and Asics that were fine.

You really just need to try different shoes, and see what feels right for you. A lot of it is trial and error, but if you stick with the basic criteria for your foot type it will get easier after a while to spot a shoe that works for you. Don't worry about what the right numbers are, brand names, etc. If the shoe feels good wear it. I have some shoes I bought for $50.00 on sale that feel better than shoes for three to five times that amount. I've also purchased tons, and tons of shoes, and have returned many more than I've kept. I still can get flared up too if I put on the wrong shoe. I'm always searching, and trying different shoes. I just noticesd two shoes on http://www.Zappos.com that looked good by Wolky. One is a mary jane type called the 'Hand', and the other is a lace up called the 'Liberty'. They may feel lousy, but the description sounds good.

http://www.onlineshoes.com lets you try the shoes for 30 days, and if they hurt after you wear them they will take them back. They are the only place other the Roadrunners, and I think fogdog sports that I know of so far that does this, but online shoes offers shoes other than athletic shoes. They have Rockports, Merrells, etc. http://www.Zappos.com has a 60 day return policy, but the shoes have to be unworn. http://www.Rockport-shoes.com also has an on-line store, but I don't know thier return policy.

Again, it's all trial and error. It's not an easy solution like someone with a flat foot that over pronates, and goes out and gets an 1121 NB shoe, or a Brooks beast, and is fine. Also athletic shoes run small so you need to size up sometimes one whole size, and it can be difficult sometimes to find larger sizes. It takes much more work to find shoes for high arches. Most athletic shoes are not geared for high arched feet. Also who wants to be stuck in one athletic shoe anyway? The easiest thing to do would be order the different shoes from these on line shoe stores, and give them a try. If you have the opportunity to find a good pod exerienced in biomechanics that would help too.

Donna

Re: Thank you so much, Donna!

Suzanne D on 5/13/02 at 14:44 (083713)

Donna, I am so appreciative of your taking the time to write such a thorough answer to me. I really wish that there was something I could do for you in return! If there ever is such an opportunity, I will gladly do so!

I appreciate all the information and have printed it out to keep. To answer your questions, I did wear my Birks at home now and then when I started wearing the SAS shoes. Not very often, though, and mostly when getting up in the night or first thing in the morning. The weather abruptly changed and became quite warm, and that is when I decided to try to wear them again some. I think you are right about lower heel possibly causing the flare-up.

I have walked around just a little in the SAS shoes without the Birk inserts, and they feel alright but don't seem to be quite as supportive to me, so I have been afraid to wear them for long without them.

You are right: Who wants to be stuck in just one shoe, anyway, as you said! I will definitely check out the sites you sent me. I appreciate the information. RIght now I have the SAS shoes and a pair of Anapolis Birkenstock (size 43 - ordered from Germany) which I can wear comfortably. The Anapolis are a Mary Jane shoe, and I got a narrow, but they are still a little wide. It sounds weird, but I have experimented with them, and at present, I have taken out the removable insole and replaced it with an over the ocunter insole, then my SAS removable insoles, with the Birk inserts on top of that! It feels better than what came in the shoe as it is a lower arch type, and my feet move around in them too much as they are still a little too wide. It's not perfect this way, but they are wearable and feel better than the sandals - I'm sure because of the support to the heel.

It IS a daunting task to find shoes for me - always has been - but now even more so. Sometimes I have felt like no one on earth made a shoe that would fit and be good for my feet! Thank you for helping me.

Suzanne :-)

Re: Donna SL...

Suzanne D on 5/11/02 at 20:25 (083570)

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for the compliment. I just saw your post, but I don't have time to write too much now, because I'm getting ready to go out. Your feet sound like one of my feet (right one sort of feels like the arch collapses. I also have narrow heels, high arches, etc. I may have some ideas, but I will need more information. I'll try to get back to you tommorrow. In the intermim could you tell me if you ever had a gait analysis? Has anyone told you if you have a plantar flexed first ray, ankle equinus (formally measured your ankle flexibility), over supinate, etc.? The SAS is a nice shoe, but it didn't work for me a while back when I tried it when my foot was in worse shape (it may feel different now), but if you have a similar foot type like mine you may benefit from a different shoe. This is a tough foot type for shoes, and orthotics.

I'm not that familiar where most of your pain is, and what kind of pain you are having, ie. burning, aching, etc. Also, could you tell me if it gets worse after you stand for a while, or as the day goes on, or is it just bad when you first get up, or after sitting a while?

Also, there are plenty of on-line stores with good return polices. I'll be able to supply some of them too.

Donna

Re: To Suzanne D

Donna SL on 5/12/02 at 10:24 (083616)

Hi Suzanne,

Opps! I just realized I put your name in the 'posted by' area instead of mine, and put my name instead of yours in the subject area in the above post. I must be getting old ha. ha. Anyway I hope you saw the post.

Donna

Re: to Donna...

Suzanne D on 5/12/02 at 12:09 (083621)

Thank you, Donna, for your response and for taking the time to write to me even when you were busy getting ready to go somewhere. I will try to give you a little more information and try to be concise. Sometimes I tend to go on and on...:-)

A bit of history - many years of teaching in a non-air conditioned school led to the habit of wearing sandals in warm weather. My arches would hurt sometimes now and then (tile floors as well), but I didn't know it could lead to something serious or that it could be long-lasting. My SAS slip-on shoes which I wore during cool/cold weather did feel better than the sandals.

Nine years ago I came to a new school - luckily, one with wooden floors and thin carpet. I immediately noticed these floors made my feet feel less tired.

Five years ago our school district adopted an alternative calendar with 4 week-long intersessions throughout the year, held in a few of the schools. I always taught in those, in newer buildings with the tile floors again.

In Oct. 2000, during one of those intersessions, my left foot really started hurting - sharp and in the arch. I wrapped my foot with an ace bandage and made it through the week. The pain stopped after that week was over.

Then in June 2001 at the same school, my foot hurt again, worse this time. I limped and walked on the outside of my foot as the arch and heel hurt - sharp pain. I searched the drug store for anything to help and bought some inserts for my shoes.

The next week I went to the doctor. He told me it was PF and gave me a paper to read. It explained the condition and advised stretching (wall and pulling on toes) and icing which I did. He said I was doing 'all the right things' and, 'This won't be over any time soon.'

I literally limped through the summer, but I thought I was doing all I could. After the first week of school in August, I was in such pain I was in tears. That Friday night I searched the internet, found Heelspurs.com and read for hours. The next day I found a Birkenstock store in a nearby city and bought Arizonas, giving me some relief.

I begged my dr. for a referral to a podiatrist and got an appointment with one in Louisville. He x-rayed, wrapped my feet (By then, both hurt.), confirmed the daignosis, said to stretch, gave a week of prednisone, then Naproxin. He never mentioned a gait analysis or the other things you asked about. I didn't know of such until I read more and more here.

I continued to go to him, asked him what about my feet could have caused this and he said my particular type of foot was prone to it. (?) My referrals ran out after a few visits, and by then I was much improved, but credit that as much to what I've learned and applied here as to what he did.

I learned to do non-weight bearing stretches, wore the Birks, iced, took the Naproxin, and tried to rest my feet as much as I could. About two months ago my Birks stopped feeling so good and I switched to SAS walking shoes with the Birk inserts. I thought I had turned a corner in healing, but a week or so ago I wore my Birk sandals again for a couple of days and the pain (arch, heel) started up again, although nothing like it was earlier.

My feet hurt worst when I first get up or get out of the car after riding for some time or after sitting for a long time. I stretch first, but they still hurt. After being on them for very long, they feel tired even if they don't hurt.

I hope I haven't rambled too much. Thank you! I must close now, and I hope this has helped you understand a little better.

Thank you again.
Suzanne :-)

Re: Suzanne...

Donna SL on 5/13/02 at 03:43 (083678)

Hi Suzanne,

It sounds like you just have classic PF, and no other nerve problems thank goodness. I didn't know your background so had to ask. It's hard to know without seeing your feet, so I can only guess, and make some suggestions of what may help your foot type. If you have an ankle equinus then a little lift in the back of the shoe would put less strain on your foot. Probably switching to the lower heel height of the birks after wearing the SAS shoes might have caused a flare up. Have you worn your birks at home in between wearing the SAS shoes? Also, if your foot rolls out somewhat you need a shoe with a strong heel counter which sandals don't provide. You may also have developed that gait when you said you rolled your feet to the outsides for pain relief. I'm sure the extra mobility of your feet in the birks didn't help either. I never had success with Birks. Most of them killed my feet. The ones they had for 'high arches' were even worse because they felt even more rigid, and pushed my foot out more, just like a bad pair of orthotics. The high arch in them also restricts foot motion where it is needed. I've been to the Birkenstock flagship store here, and the sales people said they couldn't honestly recommmend them for my foot type. (I have very high arched feet). My pod felt the same way. I think they are probably great for a normal, or flat foot type without any severe biomechanical problems.

Most rigid high arched feet need a supportive shoe with a strong heel counter, a decent heel lift, good mid-foot support, and a flexible well cushioned forefoot. If you over supinate (feet roll out too much) then you also need to look for a shoe that is very firm on the lateral, and possibly the medial side, because you could have some midstance, or forefoot pronation from the foot rolling out too much, and then rolling in to gain ground. The over supination rocking type motion, or the ankle equinus could make the arch feel like it's collapsing. The equal firmness on both sides will help keep your foot more neutral. Stay away from shoes that have too soft of a midsole material other than the forefoot area. Also, a shoe with a straighter last helps too. The SAS shoe felt a little soft to me, and didn't seem to have the firmest heel counter, but it seems like it would work with an orthotic, and is basically a nice shoe. The birk inserts aren't bad for OTC orthotics, but don't offer lateral support if you need that. Sometimes a small lateral wedge under the birks otc might help, but a pod should give you that. Also, have you tried going without the birk inserts too see how your feet feel without them? Maybe they are too rigid.

If the SAS shoes work for you then stick with them, or something very similar, but maybe find one with a slightly firmer heel counter, and midfoot area. The Rockport world tour might work, because it has a steel shank, and very snug heel area, and comes in narrow widths, but the shoe runs on the narrow side anyway, so a medium might work well with the birk inserts. The Taconic is a nice shoe too, but the World tour might give you an even snugger fit in the heel, yet it might not feel as cushy at first. You really need to try both, and may dislike both of them. They are both supportive shoes though, but I just like the feel of the Taconic better. Munro makes some nice shoes in widths, with good support, and offers a dressier look. Nordstroms carries these. They have them on the Nordstroms on-line store too. I had mentioned several more brands of shoes in a post I made to Carole C. a little while back.

I really can't recommend many athletic shoes unless you find a good neutral supportive cross trainer, or trail shoe. I don't think NB makes any decent shoes at all for rigid high arched feet. If your arches aren't too high, and you don't over supinate, and your PF pain isn't that bad then the 879 running shoe might work. In most of the NB shoes though I feel the heel area/cushion is too soft, and their neutral shoes are just too mushy in general, especially on the lateral side. I haven't found one shoe in their line I can wear, yet I've found shoes from Adidas, and Asics that were fine.

You really just need to try different shoes, and see what feels right for you. A lot of it is trial and error, but if you stick with the basic criteria for your foot type it will get easier after a while to spot a shoe that works for you. Don't worry about what the right numbers are, brand names, etc. If the shoe feels good wear it. I have some shoes I bought for $50.00 on sale that feel better than shoes for three to five times that amount. I've also purchased tons, and tons of shoes, and have returned many more than I've kept. I still can get flared up too if I put on the wrong shoe. I'm always searching, and trying different shoes. I just noticesd two shoes on http://www.Zappos.com that looked good by Wolky. One is a mary jane type called the 'Hand', and the other is a lace up called the 'Liberty'. They may feel lousy, but the description sounds good.

http://www.onlineshoes.com lets you try the shoes for 30 days, and if they hurt after you wear them they will take them back. They are the only place other the Roadrunners, and I think fogdog sports that I know of so far that does this, but online shoes offers shoes other than athletic shoes. They have Rockports, Merrells, etc. http://www.Zappos.com has a 60 day return policy, but the shoes have to be unworn. http://www.Rockport-shoes.com also has an on-line store, but I don't know thier return policy.

Again, it's all trial and error. It's not an easy solution like someone with a flat foot that over pronates, and goes out and gets an 1121 NB shoe, or a Brooks beast, and is fine. Also athletic shoes run small so you need to size up sometimes one whole size, and it can be difficult sometimes to find larger sizes. It takes much more work to find shoes for high arches. Most athletic shoes are not geared for high arched feet. Also who wants to be stuck in one athletic shoe anyway? The easiest thing to do would be order the different shoes from these on line shoe stores, and give them a try. If you have the opportunity to find a good pod exerienced in biomechanics that would help too.

Donna

Re: Thank you so much, Donna!

Suzanne D on 5/13/02 at 14:44 (083713)

Donna, I am so appreciative of your taking the time to write such a thorough answer to me. I really wish that there was something I could do for you in return! If there ever is such an opportunity, I will gladly do so!

I appreciate all the information and have printed it out to keep. To answer your questions, I did wear my Birks at home now and then when I started wearing the SAS shoes. Not very often, though, and mostly when getting up in the night or first thing in the morning. The weather abruptly changed and became quite warm, and that is when I decided to try to wear them again some. I think you are right about lower heel possibly causing the flare-up.

I have walked around just a little in the SAS shoes without the Birk inserts, and they feel alright but don't seem to be quite as supportive to me, so I have been afraid to wear them for long without them.

You are right: Who wants to be stuck in just one shoe, anyway, as you said! I will definitely check out the sites you sent me. I appreciate the information. RIght now I have the SAS shoes and a pair of Anapolis Birkenstock (size 43 - ordered from Germany) which I can wear comfortably. The Anapolis are a Mary Jane shoe, and I got a narrow, but they are still a little wide. It sounds weird, but I have experimented with them, and at present, I have taken out the removable insole and replaced it with an over the ocunter insole, then my SAS removable insoles, with the Birk inserts on top of that! It feels better than what came in the shoe as it is a lower arch type, and my feet move around in them too much as they are still a little too wide. It's not perfect this way, but they are wearable and feel better than the sandals - I'm sure because of the support to the heel.

It IS a daunting task to find shoes for me - always has been - but now even more so. Sometimes I have felt like no one on earth made a shoe that would fit and be good for my feet! Thank you for helping me.

Suzanne :-)