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Interested in arches

Posted by Pauline on 2/04/03 at 16:12 (107982)

I'm wondering what kind of arches people have. I don't know if we've collected that data from our posters or not. Maybe I missed seeing it.

If your interested could you post:
1. If you consider your arch High, Med. Low. and
2. If you currently wear an orthotic. Over the counter, Custom, None
Thanks

1. Pauline Low None

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/04/03 at 17:03 (107990)

Pauline, My arches are low and I do wear the plaster molded and specially made orthotis that were $225.00 . I also wear my Birks at times around the house and I wear cam boots (night splints) to bed at night. I also wear the cam boots when I go out as I am not able to walk more than a short time in my New Balance and orthotics or any other shoe. So,needless to say, I do not go out much as it is too painful for me and too hard to.

Re: Interested in arches

Barb C on 2/04/03 at 18:25 (108003)

Barb C - high arches - custom hard orthotics

Re: Interested in arches

IanJ on 2/04/03 at 22:07 (108026)

I have high arches and am wearing over the counter Powerstep orthotics. I have PF in the arches not the heels of both my feet.

Re: Interested in arches

Julie on 2/05/03 at 03:21 (108048)

Low-to-medium arches, custom orthotics.

Re: Interested in arches

nancy s. on 2/05/03 at 08:20 (108065)

low arches
birkenstocks (otc insert when necessary to wear other shoes)

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 08:32 (108067)

1. slightly high arches
2. custom orthotic during the day while PF was acute
Birkenstocks in the evenings while PF was acute
no orthotic since recovering from PF, Birkenstocks occasionally

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

BrianJ on 2/05/03 at 08:40 (108068)

I have high arches, and wear soft custom orthotics.

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/05/03 at 10:55 (108082)

I have a medium or from all view I have seen a normal arch Pauline.

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/05/03 at 11:13 (108085)

Carole, Maybe I was not reading enough on this board, but may I ask you how you were 'cured' of PF ??? How long did you have it and what was the cause of your getting PF? What treatments did you receive?
Sorry to be a pest, however I am relatively new to all of this.
Thankyou, Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Pauline on 2/05/03 at 12:06 (108089)

John,
Do you use an orthotic? You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

Carole C.
I'd also like to know what made you decide to abandon your orthotics when your feet got better? Again you don't need to answer.

Re: Interested in arches

Suzanne D on 2/05/03 at 14:42 (108098)

I've always had high arches which now seem to 'collapse' some when standing so that my imprint when wet makes the arch look about 'normal'.

I began wearing Birk Arizonas and then later added Birk inserts in SAS tie-up shoes. Several months and quite a bit of improvement later, I tried SuperFeet (green)inserts with success (although I finally added a little foam piece in the arch area as it wasn't high enough).

My best shoes(for now!) are my Annapolis Birk (closed, Mary Jane style) shoes. I ordered them a year ago and although they are the narrow size, they were always too deep for my thin feet, and I had to add something else inside so that my feet wouldn't feel like they were slipping out all the time. About 2 months ago, I wrote to the people at Birkenstock Express and discovered they could send me little cork postings to place on the arch area (They weren't high enough in the arch either.) and then could also add the soft footbed padding like I have in my Arizonas. I paid $50-some dollars to have this done: they are removable insoles, so I taped and marked where the arch postings needed to be and sent them in. They added these as well as the soft padding, and now they feel absolutely PERFECT! I am so thankful. I can wear them at school on our concrete floors and not have any pain. I still have stiffness some, but no pain. I have ordered from Germany another pair in a different color so that I can make good use of these modified removable insoles.

Hope this helps someone.

Suzanne :-)

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 19:11 (108129)

Bev, new PF sufferers are never a pest! Just about all of us here have been through this. I will try to give you all the details though my memory may not be entirely perfect (it's been a long day!). But I think this is about right:

I got PF on September 22, 2001. I got it from riding a brand new exercise bike barefoot on the highest tension, which wasn't very smart. I was trying to lose weight and not thinking beyond 'no pain no gain'. It took me a while after I got PF to realize that riding the bike like this was the cause, and I continued to ride it until I figured it out in maybe October or November. I first began reading the boards in October and in late November at a routine arthritis appointment, my rheumatologist officially diagnosed my PF and sent me with a prescription to a C.Ped.

By that time I was in pretty bad PF agony. Having read about Birkenstocks here, I got some on the Saturday after the rheumatologist. On December 6th, 2001, I saw my C.Ped and I was in tears from the pain. She made me custom orthotics and educated me about PF. From then on, I wore my custom orthotics during the day and my Birkenstocks in the evenings, and didn't stand or walk barefoot. I bought a shower stool so that I didn't have to go barefoot in the tub/shower.

I started the gentle stretches my C.Ped told me about, which were to sit on my bed, legs out in front of me on the bed, and point the toes of one foot towards my nose (in and up) while holding the knee down. Hold while pointing for 30 seconds, and then do the other foot. If it hurts, don't do it so hard; it shouldn't hurt. When you're done, gently rotate the foot on the ankle to relax it and loosen things up.

I began icing every evening with a bag of frozen peas, on and off the bag for about 30 minutes. I rested a lot, other than going to the bathroom and hobbling in to my office job every day. I didn't do any errands or even cook, so that I could stay off of my feet and let them rest. I was in very bad pain.

I tried a lot of other things that didn't happen to work for me. I read Scott's heel pain book and these message boards. By January I was realizing that every time I felt intense pain, I would suffer a set-back from it. So, I tried to learn what caused intense pain and to avoid it. I found out that if I did LESS than I thought I could do, rather than more, I could avoid these set-backs. For some reason, I was overestimating what my feet could take and that was causing me repeated re-injury.

It took a few more weeks, but that was the key for me. By the end of January I was avoiding intense pain pretty expertly. By mid to late February I felt greatly recovered... from a pain level of 8-9 in December, on a scale of 1-10, I had got to a level of 4-5. I could get out occasionally if I rested a lot, and even went to places like Wal-Mart.

By March, I was a level 2-3 and even went to sea on a working cruise (I'm an oceanographer). It took until June before I was a level 0-1, but during this time my feet felt much more stable and I could do almost anything I wanted to do. I stopped wearing my custom orthotics and started wearing 'normal' shoes much of the time. At some time over the summer I felt like the last of my pain had gone, and that I was healed.

I am still very cautious, even though I don't feel PF pain any more. I do everything that I used to do, but I'm still a little protective of my feet. If I feel things tighten up after doing a lot of physical work, I do my stretches and lounge around in my Birkenstocks. That hasn't happened for a while though. A couple of weeks ago I spent the whole weekend doing yard work as heavy as I could do, and my feet felt fine.

As to what treatments I received, I have not seen a foot professional at all except the one visit to the C.Ped who made my custom orthotics. I did all my own treatments, with the help and guidance of people on the board. I went through a lot of trial and error, but in the process I learned to pay attention to what my feet were telling me.

For me, rest was the most important and also the hardest part of my self-treatment to do. I think that's true for everyone so it becomes time to set priorities. Getting my feet to heal was quite a high priority for me.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 19:33 (108130)

Pauline, when I went to sea in April, I wore my custom orthotics in my leather SAS shoes the whole time. The weather was very rough and the waves were upwards of 12 feet high. Our vessel got tossed around like a toothpick.

Doing work out on the deck a lot of waves splashed over my feet. Many of them splashed over my head too! LOL My shoes were either filled with salt water or at least damp for the entire week. I let them dry as much as they could in that humidity, overnight, but I think you've got the idea.

When I got back, I had a blister in each arch. My custom orthotics are probably the best I have ever heard of; they do very well for me; but my arches have no callus (being arches!) and all that slipping and sliding on a salt-laden orthotic caused the blisters.

My feet felt pretty darn good other than the blisters, though! I was surprised, because I had been overdoing it a lot. I was spending long, long periods doing my gentle stretching late every night in my rack at sea, and my feet really hurt but when I got back that hurt disappeared within a day or two.

My SAS shoes and custom orthotics looked pretty bad at this point. The black SAS shoes were grey with salt, and the orthotics looked pretty beat. So, I wore my Birkenstocks and New Balance without the orthotics for a while and found out that I felt fine that way.

Intellectually, whether right or wrong, I suppose that I regarded my custom orthotics as something similar to a cast for a broken arm. They held my foot in the position it needed to stay in, so that it could heal. But once it was healed, or nearly so, I felt no more need for it as long as I was careful with my feet. Over the summer, I used my orthotics when mowing the lawn because I felt this task was hard on my feet. I also used them when I moved into my new house. But other than that, I have not used them in about nine months.

I know this is not the way most people think of orthotics and it may not be the right choice for most people. Not using my orthotics works for me. I am convinced that my PF was mainly due to a repetitive injury (riding my exercise bike barefoot with over-enthusiasm, at the high tension setting). I am also convinced that while they are somewhat flawed, my gait and biomechanics are not that terribly bad either.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

nancy s. on 2/05/03 at 19:52 (108132)

great post, carole. i think your emphasis on avoiding ANYthing that causes intense pain and thus a setback is right on the mark. even during my many-months-long (nearly a year) prolonged rest, there were times i'd think 'i've got to carry my weight around here' and proceed to squat down and clean out the litterbox or something. and even now, when i consider myself 75-85% better, i allow myself to overdo it on my feet some days, knowing that if i rest and ice that night i'll feel better in the morning.

but your post reminds me that avoiding this scenario is the wisest approach, no matter what stage of recovery or management-of-feet one is in. maybe i'd be closer to 100% if i followed this wisdom ALL the time. i'm sure your post will help a good number of newcomers to the boards, and it's making me rethink my attitude right now as i type.

thanks from nancy
.

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 20:14 (108136)

(hugs) I sure hope you find that elusive 100%, Nancy!

One of the advantages of living alone is that nobody but the people on heelspurs can truly even imagine what a pig sty my apartment was last year while I rested. But that was temporary (thank goodness!)

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Pauline on 2/05/03 at 20:37 (108141)

Thanks Carole. Nine months is a good test without them. I think your thought about them being similar to a cast is an interesting one because like a cast you shed them. Doctors would probably tell you to continue to use them, but like Nancy said what ever works is what's necessary.

Maybe it was all that 'Salt Water' that help your P.F. I wonder if anyone has tried lots of salt water soaks.

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 21:49 (108154)

I don't know. I was REALLY glad to get home and get my feet out of the salt water. They seemed to feel a lot better once they were warm and dry. I don't think the salt water helped, but maybe walking and standing on a tossing, swaying ship for a week helped; even in orthotics you have to use all your foot muscles constantly just to stay upright. It seems to help my arthritis somewhat, too.

Imagine a hypothetical person who had perfect gait and biomechanics, and then did something or other that was guaranteed to cause a repetitive stress injury so he had PF.

Then imagine that he got perfect orthotics and did all the conservative treatments right and promptly so his PF healed right up.

As his feet become 100% pain free, he might still have a 'weak spot' where the injury was. Maybe he removes his orthotics and is cautious to make sure he doesn't aggravate the weak spot. But as months pass with no problems, his feet probably become nearly as strong as before all this happened.

Obviously this is a hypothetical ideal case. My gait and biomechanics weren't perfect; just sort of normal/awkward/mediocre. But not bad. My orthotics were darn near perfect on most days. I didn't do all the conservative treatments right the first time, but I tried really hard. I think that in my case this seems to be working.

But if someone with excellent orthotics has a significant biomechanical problem, or has longstanding PF, or has a pain level of more than about 1 on a scale of 1-10, or any other reason for doubt, I would recommend to play it safe and stay with your excellent orthotics.

If you have lousy orthotics, then that's another can of worms. :)

Carole C

Re: some more thoughts

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 08:13 (108180)

When my PF was really bad, even as innocent a thing as wiggling my toes the wrong way could cause intense pain. Nobody on the board, or at websites, or anywhere is going to tell people not to wiggle their toes. But when PF is really bad the feet are so fragile.

The same is true of different motions in everyday life. If it causes intense pain to stand on your tiptoes a little to get something down from that top shelf, then I suggest that doing that has to be eliminated until the feet have healed a lot more. If your gentle stretching causes intense pain, then I suggest that it needs to be gentler until you can do it without intense pain (in this example, sometimes once you loosen up a little sometimes you can do things pain-free that might have hurt a few minutes before). If standing in line at the grocery store causes you a lot of pain that lasts until bedtime, then I suggest that you figure out something so that you don't have to do it until your feet can take it.

When you feel like you have healed enough to do something that you could not previously do, and you're really, really sure, that's great! I suggest you then wait two more weeks before you try it. Two weeks delay in returning to normal activity isn't going to make much difference in the long run and it really helped to speed up my healing.

Most of all, I wish for happy, pain-free feet for all of you.

Carole C

Re: salt water?

Tammie on 2/06/03 at 09:42 (108187)

Interesting that some one should say this but, I have learned from several sites and people that epsom salts is very good for RSD. I am not sure if this is even alike or not but It caught my eye. I mean we all try anything at all to find a relief and just wonder if there is something there or not.

I am flatfooted as they come, I have orthodics that are made with a arch and stop at my toes thinking they are 3/4. I have been watching some of thease FYI here , I like the threads where they show things people are trying. Since my time is very limitied to the board right now.I have to many things happening and I am not even up on my email to those I owe I aplogise to .

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/06/03 at 09:58 (108195)

Pauline: I use the Footmax semi rigid orthotic. In the summer i am 95% into birk sandals of one type or another. In the past I have tried custom rigid othotics (ouch) and custom soft orthotics which were ok. We have about 3' of wet snow and slosh today so you can bet my birks are resting in the closet.

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/06/03 at 10:29 (108202)

Carole, Thankyou very much for your help. I am impressed about your profession,though. Being an oceanographer must be great! Sure does being a nurse!I would love the fresh air. What area are you located that you can do this type of work? I really do appreciate all of yours and all the 'friends' information on these boards, you are my lifelines now that I am home 'resting'. Thanks, Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 11:48 (108213)

Bev, I'm located in New Orleans, Louisiana. I do most of my work in a high rise federal building, behind a computer screen. But every now and then, I go to sea which is part of my job also. One of the things I love about my job is the great variety.

Being a nurse sounds wonderful to me. It's nice to be able to help people directly, every day. It's probably really hard on the feet, though. I'm glad you're able to stay home and rest right now while your feet are healing.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 11:57 (108214)

John, we are in the fifties Fahrenheit and drizzling rain from dark endless clouds here in New Orleans. I'm wearing my dark brown nubuck Birkenstock Tatami Fuldas, with dark green thick socks. I know you hate socks with Birkenstocks, so I just had to tell you. LOL

I don't usually wear them to work these days (especially in the winter!) but after talking about them on the message board, I thought 'Why not?'

They look and feel great, for a change anyway. It's sort of like dressing down for casual Fridays but on a Thursday. I'm still glad that I am able to wear more normal shoes to work on most days.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

JenL on 2/06/03 at 13:16 (108222)

I think my arch is med. high, although one podiatrist said I have high arch. He even described my foot as looking like ballerina's, and charged me $440 for a pair of semi-rigid orthotics. That orthotics are archived as totally useless. I now wear soft custom orthotics. But my foot problem seems different from most of your's. I was diagnosed for PF last June, and after seeing four podiatrists, I don't have a clear diagnosis now. Neither ultrasond nor MRI shows signs of PF, and I don't have morning pain since last June. The visible problem is edema on both heels. I tried many conservative treatments with no improvement.

Re: Interested in arches

George on 2/06/03 at 15:43 (108241)

Low arch, plantar fasciitis. Have had great success using an over-the-counter pre-molded orthotic.

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 17:22 (108257)

George, what brand of over the counter orthotic do you use? Thanks. :)

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

George on 2/07/03 at 06:41 (108305)

Carol, actually I am currently having success with two brands. My Phase4 orthotics make terrific doorstops and are great at removing wallpaper. As for my feet... I have been very satisfied with Ortho-Dynamics pre-molded orthotics. I have two styles, the Sportsman and the Heel-Lite. As far as I can tell the only difference between the two styles is that the Heel-Lite has additional heel cushioning - a gel-filled heel pad. I have flat feet and tend to over-pronate, thus my plantar fascitis. Since I have been using these orthotics, my discomfort has diminished drastically. I not saying they are for everybody, but they have certainly helped me. They have a website if you are interested:
http://www.orthodynamics.com

Re: Thanks, George (nm)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/03 at 07:09 (108306)

.

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/07/03 at 12:02 (108344)

Carole: When I first went into the military and was training to be an officer. On hot days in San Antonio we were required to wear Bermuda Shorts, knee high stockings and a pith helmet.We all looked like sissy guys. yuk! double yuk! Jungle Jim would not even look good in this outfit.

Re: Interested in arches

Rose M. on 2/07/03 at 13:54 (108363)

I am just where you are. I have the boot, cannot go out much and have the custom arch supports. I am having surgery for a 1/3 release in about a month. Comments?

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/03 at 14:29 (108367)

John, some men are given names that are so bad, that they have to be tough or they would never make it. Evander(sp?) Holyfield comes to mind.

Some military men are given uniforms that are so bad...

Well you get the idea! I'll bet your unit was a lot tougher after wearing those uniforms all summer. LOL

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/07/03 at 14:55 (108372)

Rose, I thought you had surgery already, or was that another Rose? I am having a hard time keeping everyone straight on the boards, I need to make up a list, I guess. I am really having a painful day-UG. These feet-UG. Hubby wants to go out to eat and to a play tonight, so I will have to dose up on pain meds to go. I feel so sorry for him cause I am always in pain and no fun anymore and I do not want to go anywhere. So I will MAKE myself go out and be happy if it takes 10 painpills (only Kidding). I will wear my cam boots out as that is the only way I can walk any distance is in them. How are you doing today? Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Rose M. on 2/07/03 at 16:31 (108382)

I haven't had any surgery as yet. Have you had any? If so I would love to hear about it. You slaid your cam boots? Do you have one on each foot? I have two also, but can't walk without crutches with both of them. Can you?

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/07/03 at 20:37 (108414)

Hi Rose, Yes I wear a camboot on each foot, not all the time. Around the house I wear 1/3 camboots, 1/3 Birks, 1/3 New Balance with my specially made insoles in. It depends on my pain level as to what I can wear. The camboots are for night wearing to , to keep feet in alignment during the night. I have worn them for 3 months now and I do pretty good in them. I hang on to my hubbys arm tight in this weather if we go out , but mostly I am at home. How long have you had this? Do you work, or did you? Have you done the PT, and all the other things for PF ? Were you thinking of ESWT before surgery? Thanks, Bev

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/08/03 at 10:27 (108456)

Carole: We would have looked great in India when the British Empire was in charge.

Re: Interested in arches

rose on 2/10/03 at 00:16 (108646)

Tell me about ESWT. My podiatrist told me about this, I think, and it is not covered by my medical plan. He said it was not very effective and very expensive. Is that correct?

Re: Interested in arches

rose on 2/10/03 at 00:18 (108647)

Tell me about ESWT. My podiatrist told me about this, I think, and it is not covered by my medical plan. He said it was not very effective and very expensive. Is that correct?
How is this different from Ultra Sound? I have been going to a chiropractor and he has been doing untra sound therapy on me. He has been very agressive to the point of pain and it seems to be helping. Comments?

Re: Interested in arches

Julie on 2/10/03 at 04:46 (108654)

Rose

There is a page on this website devoted to ESWT. You can find the link to it on the home page. There is also information on ESWT in the heel pain book.

ESWT is a non-invasive treatment with a good success rate that is likely to replace most surgeries. It's a relatively new treatment in the US, but has been used for a long time in Europe. Your podiatrist may be a bit out of date, or may not know very much about it, or may (if he performs surgery) not have an open mind about a non-surgical treatment.

The down side is that ESWT IS expensive, depending on where you have it. It is apparently cheaper in Canada than in most states: many people travel to the Bayshore Clinic in Toronto for ESWT.

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/10/03 at 12:12 (108683)

Hi Rose, You got good advice from everyone on the board about checking into the ESWT site here, and also read all the posts on these boards and you will learn so much. Everyone is so helpful, I don't know how I would have learned so much if it was not for all of them--heaven knows, our doctors don't know that much about PF. I am really confused on ESWT after reading the posts. Some have great results from it and others are in more pain then befor ESWT. So many decisions for us to make and so much to learn. Keep us posted as to how you are doing. Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/04/03 at 17:03 (107990)

Pauline, My arches are low and I do wear the plaster molded and specially made orthotis that were $225.00 . I also wear my Birks at times around the house and I wear cam boots (night splints) to bed at night. I also wear the cam boots when I go out as I am not able to walk more than a short time in my New Balance and orthotics or any other shoe. So,needless to say, I do not go out much as it is too painful for me and too hard to.

Re: Interested in arches

Barb C on 2/04/03 at 18:25 (108003)

Barb C - high arches - custom hard orthotics

Re: Interested in arches

IanJ on 2/04/03 at 22:07 (108026)

I have high arches and am wearing over the counter Powerstep orthotics. I have PF in the arches not the heels of both my feet.

Re: Interested in arches

Julie on 2/05/03 at 03:21 (108048)

Low-to-medium arches, custom orthotics.

Re: Interested in arches

nancy s. on 2/05/03 at 08:20 (108065)

low arches
birkenstocks (otc insert when necessary to wear other shoes)

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 08:32 (108067)

1. slightly high arches
2. custom orthotic during the day while PF was acute
Birkenstocks in the evenings while PF was acute
no orthotic since recovering from PF, Birkenstocks occasionally

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

BrianJ on 2/05/03 at 08:40 (108068)

I have high arches, and wear soft custom orthotics.

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/05/03 at 10:55 (108082)

I have a medium or from all view I have seen a normal arch Pauline.

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/05/03 at 11:13 (108085)

Carole, Maybe I was not reading enough on this board, but may I ask you how you were 'cured' of PF ??? How long did you have it and what was the cause of your getting PF? What treatments did you receive?
Sorry to be a pest, however I am relatively new to all of this.
Thankyou, Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Pauline on 2/05/03 at 12:06 (108089)

John,
Do you use an orthotic? You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

Carole C.
I'd also like to know what made you decide to abandon your orthotics when your feet got better? Again you don't need to answer.

Re: Interested in arches

Suzanne D on 2/05/03 at 14:42 (108098)

I've always had high arches which now seem to 'collapse' some when standing so that my imprint when wet makes the arch look about 'normal'.

I began wearing Birk Arizonas and then later added Birk inserts in SAS tie-up shoes. Several months and quite a bit of improvement later, I tried SuperFeet (green)inserts with success (although I finally added a little foam piece in the arch area as it wasn't high enough).

My best shoes(for now!) are my Annapolis Birk (closed, Mary Jane style) shoes. I ordered them a year ago and although they are the narrow size, they were always too deep for my thin feet, and I had to add something else inside so that my feet wouldn't feel like they were slipping out all the time. About 2 months ago, I wrote to the people at Birkenstock Express and discovered they could send me little cork postings to place on the arch area (They weren't high enough in the arch either.) and then could also add the soft footbed padding like I have in my Arizonas. I paid $50-some dollars to have this done: they are removable insoles, so I taped and marked where the arch postings needed to be and sent them in. They added these as well as the soft padding, and now they feel absolutely PERFECT! I am so thankful. I can wear them at school on our concrete floors and not have any pain. I still have stiffness some, but no pain. I have ordered from Germany another pair in a different color so that I can make good use of these modified removable insoles.

Hope this helps someone.

Suzanne :-)

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 19:11 (108129)

Bev, new PF sufferers are never a pest! Just about all of us here have been through this. I will try to give you all the details though my memory may not be entirely perfect (it's been a long day!). But I think this is about right:

I got PF on September 22, 2001. I got it from riding a brand new exercise bike barefoot on the highest tension, which wasn't very smart. I was trying to lose weight and not thinking beyond 'no pain no gain'. It took me a while after I got PF to realize that riding the bike like this was the cause, and I continued to ride it until I figured it out in maybe October or November. I first began reading the boards in October and in late November at a routine arthritis appointment, my rheumatologist officially diagnosed my PF and sent me with a prescription to a C.Ped.

By that time I was in pretty bad PF agony. Having read about Birkenstocks here, I got some on the Saturday after the rheumatologist. On December 6th, 2001, I saw my C.Ped and I was in tears from the pain. She made me custom orthotics and educated me about PF. From then on, I wore my custom orthotics during the day and my Birkenstocks in the evenings, and didn't stand or walk barefoot. I bought a shower stool so that I didn't have to go barefoot in the tub/shower.

I started the gentle stretches my C.Ped told me about, which were to sit on my bed, legs out in front of me on the bed, and point the toes of one foot towards my nose (in and up) while holding the knee down. Hold while pointing for 30 seconds, and then do the other foot. If it hurts, don't do it so hard; it shouldn't hurt. When you're done, gently rotate the foot on the ankle to relax it and loosen things up.

I began icing every evening with a bag of frozen peas, on and off the bag for about 30 minutes. I rested a lot, other than going to the bathroom and hobbling in to my office job every day. I didn't do any errands or even cook, so that I could stay off of my feet and let them rest. I was in very bad pain.

I tried a lot of other things that didn't happen to work for me. I read Scott's heel pain book and these message boards. By January I was realizing that every time I felt intense pain, I would suffer a set-back from it. So, I tried to learn what caused intense pain and to avoid it. I found out that if I did LESS than I thought I could do, rather than more, I could avoid these set-backs. For some reason, I was overestimating what my feet could take and that was causing me repeated re-injury.

It took a few more weeks, but that was the key for me. By the end of January I was avoiding intense pain pretty expertly. By mid to late February I felt greatly recovered... from a pain level of 8-9 in December, on a scale of 1-10, I had got to a level of 4-5. I could get out occasionally if I rested a lot, and even went to places like Wal-Mart.

By March, I was a level 2-3 and even went to sea on a working cruise (I'm an oceanographer). It took until June before I was a level 0-1, but during this time my feet felt much more stable and I could do almost anything I wanted to do. I stopped wearing my custom orthotics and started wearing 'normal' shoes much of the time. At some time over the summer I felt like the last of my pain had gone, and that I was healed.

I am still very cautious, even though I don't feel PF pain any more. I do everything that I used to do, but I'm still a little protective of my feet. If I feel things tighten up after doing a lot of physical work, I do my stretches and lounge around in my Birkenstocks. That hasn't happened for a while though. A couple of weeks ago I spent the whole weekend doing yard work as heavy as I could do, and my feet felt fine.

As to what treatments I received, I have not seen a foot professional at all except the one visit to the C.Ped who made my custom orthotics. I did all my own treatments, with the help and guidance of people on the board. I went through a lot of trial and error, but in the process I learned to pay attention to what my feet were telling me.

For me, rest was the most important and also the hardest part of my self-treatment to do. I think that's true for everyone so it becomes time to set priorities. Getting my feet to heal was quite a high priority for me.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 19:33 (108130)

Pauline, when I went to sea in April, I wore my custom orthotics in my leather SAS shoes the whole time. The weather was very rough and the waves were upwards of 12 feet high. Our vessel got tossed around like a toothpick.

Doing work out on the deck a lot of waves splashed over my feet. Many of them splashed over my head too! LOL My shoes were either filled with salt water or at least damp for the entire week. I let them dry as much as they could in that humidity, overnight, but I think you've got the idea.

When I got back, I had a blister in each arch. My custom orthotics are probably the best I have ever heard of; they do very well for me; but my arches have no callus (being arches!) and all that slipping and sliding on a salt-laden orthotic caused the blisters.

My feet felt pretty darn good other than the blisters, though! I was surprised, because I had been overdoing it a lot. I was spending long, long periods doing my gentle stretching late every night in my rack at sea, and my feet really hurt but when I got back that hurt disappeared within a day or two.

My SAS shoes and custom orthotics looked pretty bad at this point. The black SAS shoes were grey with salt, and the orthotics looked pretty beat. So, I wore my Birkenstocks and New Balance without the orthotics for a while and found out that I felt fine that way.

Intellectually, whether right or wrong, I suppose that I regarded my custom orthotics as something similar to a cast for a broken arm. They held my foot in the position it needed to stay in, so that it could heal. But once it was healed, or nearly so, I felt no more need for it as long as I was careful with my feet. Over the summer, I used my orthotics when mowing the lawn because I felt this task was hard on my feet. I also used them when I moved into my new house. But other than that, I have not used them in about nine months.

I know this is not the way most people think of orthotics and it may not be the right choice for most people. Not using my orthotics works for me. I am convinced that my PF was mainly due to a repetitive injury (riding my exercise bike barefoot with over-enthusiasm, at the high tension setting). I am also convinced that while they are somewhat flawed, my gait and biomechanics are not that terribly bad either.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

nancy s. on 2/05/03 at 19:52 (108132)

great post, carole. i think your emphasis on avoiding ANYthing that causes intense pain and thus a setback is right on the mark. even during my many-months-long (nearly a year) prolonged rest, there were times i'd think 'i've got to carry my weight around here' and proceed to squat down and clean out the litterbox or something. and even now, when i consider myself 75-85% better, i allow myself to overdo it on my feet some days, knowing that if i rest and ice that night i'll feel better in the morning.

but your post reminds me that avoiding this scenario is the wisest approach, no matter what stage of recovery or management-of-feet one is in. maybe i'd be closer to 100% if i followed this wisdom ALL the time. i'm sure your post will help a good number of newcomers to the boards, and it's making me rethink my attitude right now as i type.

thanks from nancy
.

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 20:14 (108136)

(hugs) I sure hope you find that elusive 100%, Nancy!

One of the advantages of living alone is that nobody but the people on heelspurs can truly even imagine what a pig sty my apartment was last year while I rested. But that was temporary (thank goodness!)

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Pauline on 2/05/03 at 20:37 (108141)

Thanks Carole. Nine months is a good test without them. I think your thought about them being similar to a cast is an interesting one because like a cast you shed them. Doctors would probably tell you to continue to use them, but like Nancy said what ever works is what's necessary.

Maybe it was all that 'Salt Water' that help your P.F. I wonder if anyone has tried lots of salt water soaks.

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/05/03 at 21:49 (108154)

I don't know. I was REALLY glad to get home and get my feet out of the salt water. They seemed to feel a lot better once they were warm and dry. I don't think the salt water helped, but maybe walking and standing on a tossing, swaying ship for a week helped; even in orthotics you have to use all your foot muscles constantly just to stay upright. It seems to help my arthritis somewhat, too.

Imagine a hypothetical person who had perfect gait and biomechanics, and then did something or other that was guaranteed to cause a repetitive stress injury so he had PF.

Then imagine that he got perfect orthotics and did all the conservative treatments right and promptly so his PF healed right up.

As his feet become 100% pain free, he might still have a 'weak spot' where the injury was. Maybe he removes his orthotics and is cautious to make sure he doesn't aggravate the weak spot. But as months pass with no problems, his feet probably become nearly as strong as before all this happened.

Obviously this is a hypothetical ideal case. My gait and biomechanics weren't perfect; just sort of normal/awkward/mediocre. But not bad. My orthotics were darn near perfect on most days. I didn't do all the conservative treatments right the first time, but I tried really hard. I think that in my case this seems to be working.

But if someone with excellent orthotics has a significant biomechanical problem, or has longstanding PF, or has a pain level of more than about 1 on a scale of 1-10, or any other reason for doubt, I would recommend to play it safe and stay with your excellent orthotics.

If you have lousy orthotics, then that's another can of worms. :)

Carole C

Re: some more thoughts

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 08:13 (108180)

When my PF was really bad, even as innocent a thing as wiggling my toes the wrong way could cause intense pain. Nobody on the board, or at websites, or anywhere is going to tell people not to wiggle their toes. But when PF is really bad the feet are so fragile.

The same is true of different motions in everyday life. If it causes intense pain to stand on your tiptoes a little to get something down from that top shelf, then I suggest that doing that has to be eliminated until the feet have healed a lot more. If your gentle stretching causes intense pain, then I suggest that it needs to be gentler until you can do it without intense pain (in this example, sometimes once you loosen up a little sometimes you can do things pain-free that might have hurt a few minutes before). If standing in line at the grocery store causes you a lot of pain that lasts until bedtime, then I suggest that you figure out something so that you don't have to do it until your feet can take it.

When you feel like you have healed enough to do something that you could not previously do, and you're really, really sure, that's great! I suggest you then wait two more weeks before you try it. Two weeks delay in returning to normal activity isn't going to make much difference in the long run and it really helped to speed up my healing.

Most of all, I wish for happy, pain-free feet for all of you.

Carole C

Re: salt water?

Tammie on 2/06/03 at 09:42 (108187)

Interesting that some one should say this but, I have learned from several sites and people that epsom salts is very good for RSD. I am not sure if this is even alike or not but It caught my eye. I mean we all try anything at all to find a relief and just wonder if there is something there or not.

I am flatfooted as they come, I have orthodics that are made with a arch and stop at my toes thinking they are 3/4. I have been watching some of thease FYI here , I like the threads where they show things people are trying. Since my time is very limitied to the board right now.I have to many things happening and I am not even up on my email to those I owe I aplogise to .

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/06/03 at 09:58 (108195)

Pauline: I use the Footmax semi rigid orthotic. In the summer i am 95% into birk sandals of one type or another. In the past I have tried custom rigid othotics (ouch) and custom soft orthotics which were ok. We have about 3' of wet snow and slosh today so you can bet my birks are resting in the closet.

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/06/03 at 10:29 (108202)

Carole, Thankyou very much for your help. I am impressed about your profession,though. Being an oceanographer must be great! Sure does being a nurse!I would love the fresh air. What area are you located that you can do this type of work? I really do appreciate all of yours and all the 'friends' information on these boards, you are my lifelines now that I am home 'resting'. Thanks, Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 11:48 (108213)

Bev, I'm located in New Orleans, Louisiana. I do most of my work in a high rise federal building, behind a computer screen. But every now and then, I go to sea which is part of my job also. One of the things I love about my job is the great variety.

Being a nurse sounds wonderful to me. It's nice to be able to help people directly, every day. It's probably really hard on the feet, though. I'm glad you're able to stay home and rest right now while your feet are healing.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 11:57 (108214)

John, we are in the fifties Fahrenheit and drizzling rain from dark endless clouds here in New Orleans. I'm wearing my dark brown nubuck Birkenstock Tatami Fuldas, with dark green thick socks. I know you hate socks with Birkenstocks, so I just had to tell you. LOL

I don't usually wear them to work these days (especially in the winter!) but after talking about them on the message board, I thought 'Why not?'

They look and feel great, for a change anyway. It's sort of like dressing down for casual Fridays but on a Thursday. I'm still glad that I am able to wear more normal shoes to work on most days.

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

JenL on 2/06/03 at 13:16 (108222)

I think my arch is med. high, although one podiatrist said I have high arch. He even described my foot as looking like ballerina's, and charged me $440 for a pair of semi-rigid orthotics. That orthotics are archived as totally useless. I now wear soft custom orthotics. But my foot problem seems different from most of your's. I was diagnosed for PF last June, and after seeing four podiatrists, I don't have a clear diagnosis now. Neither ultrasond nor MRI shows signs of PF, and I don't have morning pain since last June. The visible problem is edema on both heels. I tried many conservative treatments with no improvement.

Re: Interested in arches

George on 2/06/03 at 15:43 (108241)

Low arch, plantar fasciitis. Have had great success using an over-the-counter pre-molded orthotic.

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/06/03 at 17:22 (108257)

George, what brand of over the counter orthotic do you use? Thanks. :)

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

George on 2/07/03 at 06:41 (108305)

Carol, actually I am currently having success with two brands. My Phase4 orthotics make terrific doorstops and are great at removing wallpaper. As for my feet... I have been very satisfied with Ortho-Dynamics pre-molded orthotics. I have two styles, the Sportsman and the Heel-Lite. As far as I can tell the only difference between the two styles is that the Heel-Lite has additional heel cushioning - a gel-filled heel pad. I have flat feet and tend to over-pronate, thus my plantar fascitis. Since I have been using these orthotics, my discomfort has diminished drastically. I not saying they are for everybody, but they have certainly helped me. They have a website if you are interested:
http://www.orthodynamics.com

Re: Thanks, George (nm)

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/03 at 07:09 (108306)

.

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/07/03 at 12:02 (108344)

Carole: When I first went into the military and was training to be an officer. On hot days in San Antonio we were required to wear Bermuda Shorts, knee high stockings and a pith helmet.We all looked like sissy guys. yuk! double yuk! Jungle Jim would not even look good in this outfit.

Re: Interested in arches

Rose M. on 2/07/03 at 13:54 (108363)

I am just where you are. I have the boot, cannot go out much and have the custom arch supports. I am having surgery for a 1/3 release in about a month. Comments?

Re: Interested in arches

Carole C in NOLA on 2/07/03 at 14:29 (108367)

John, some men are given names that are so bad, that they have to be tough or they would never make it. Evander(sp?) Holyfield comes to mind.

Some military men are given uniforms that are so bad...

Well you get the idea! I'll bet your unit was a lot tougher after wearing those uniforms all summer. LOL

Carole C

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/07/03 at 14:55 (108372)

Rose, I thought you had surgery already, or was that another Rose? I am having a hard time keeping everyone straight on the boards, I need to make up a list, I guess. I am really having a painful day-UG. These feet-UG. Hubby wants to go out to eat and to a play tonight, so I will have to dose up on pain meds to go. I feel so sorry for him cause I am always in pain and no fun anymore and I do not want to go anywhere. So I will MAKE myself go out and be happy if it takes 10 painpills (only Kidding). I will wear my cam boots out as that is the only way I can walk any distance is in them. How are you doing today? Bev

Re: Interested in arches

Rose M. on 2/07/03 at 16:31 (108382)

I haven't had any surgery as yet. Have you had any? If so I would love to hear about it. You slaid your cam boots? Do you have one on each foot? I have two also, but can't walk without crutches with both of them. Can you?

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/07/03 at 20:37 (108414)

Hi Rose, Yes I wear a camboot on each foot, not all the time. Around the house I wear 1/3 camboots, 1/3 Birks, 1/3 New Balance with my specially made insoles in. It depends on my pain level as to what I can wear. The camboots are for night wearing to , to keep feet in alignment during the night. I have worn them for 3 months now and I do pretty good in them. I hang on to my hubbys arm tight in this weather if we go out , but mostly I am at home. How long have you had this? Do you work, or did you? Have you done the PT, and all the other things for PF ? Were you thinking of ESWT before surgery? Thanks, Bev

Re: Interested in arches

john h on 2/08/03 at 10:27 (108456)

Carole: We would have looked great in India when the British Empire was in charge.

Re: Interested in arches

rose on 2/10/03 at 00:16 (108646)

Tell me about ESWT. My podiatrist told me about this, I think, and it is not covered by my medical plan. He said it was not very effective and very expensive. Is that correct?

Re: Interested in arches

rose on 2/10/03 at 00:18 (108647)

Tell me about ESWT. My podiatrist told me about this, I think, and it is not covered by my medical plan. He said it was not very effective and very expensive. Is that correct?
How is this different from Ultra Sound? I have been going to a chiropractor and he has been doing untra sound therapy on me. He has been very agressive to the point of pain and it seems to be helping. Comments?

Re: Interested in arches

Julie on 2/10/03 at 04:46 (108654)

Rose

There is a page on this website devoted to ESWT. You can find the link to it on the home page. There is also information on ESWT in the heel pain book.

ESWT is a non-invasive treatment with a good success rate that is likely to replace most surgeries. It's a relatively new treatment in the US, but has been used for a long time in Europe. Your podiatrist may be a bit out of date, or may not know very much about it, or may (if he performs surgery) not have an open mind about a non-surgical treatment.

The down side is that ESWT IS expensive, depending on where you have it. It is apparently cheaper in Canada than in most states: many people travel to the Bayshore Clinic in Toronto for ESWT.

Re: Interested in arches

Bev N on 2/10/03 at 12:12 (108683)

Hi Rose, You got good advice from everyone on the board about checking into the ESWT site here, and also read all the posts on these boards and you will learn so much. Everyone is so helpful, I don't know how I would have learned so much if it was not for all of them--heaven knows, our doctors don't know that much about PF. I am really confused on ESWT after reading the posts. Some have great results from it and others are in more pain then befor ESWT. So many decisions for us to make and so much to learn. Keep us posted as to how you are doing. Bev