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New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Posted by Dermot on 7/24/03 at 18:48 (125165)

This is my first post here. Based on the information here I pretty much new what was wrong with my foot and it was confirmed today by my first visit to a Podiatrist.
I am just waiting for the xray results now to see if there is a spur : P.
I have a question about Birkenstocks.
I need a pair for around the house and the woman at the store was helpful.
I said I would really like a heel strap as sandals without them drive me crazy.
She talked me out of it because she said it is a pain in the butt putting them on all the time.
I picked up a pair of Arizonas and am not too sure if I can get used to the lack of a heel strap - almost tripped me up on the stairs already.
Any comments? Can I get used to these or get a pair with straps - if so which ones?

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Carole C in NOLA on 7/24/03 at 19:29 (125167)

Most people with PF seem to do better without a heel strap. Then your foot is free to rest where it naturally settles on the orthotic footbed, and that seems to work a lot better. You can get used to them! My 'vote' is for you to buy the Arizonas.

Don't forget to break in your Birkenstocks when you get them. Wear them just an hour or two the first day, and increase by a half hour or hour each day for about a week. You'll know when they are broken in, because after several days of doing this they will suddenly feel softer and almost spongy or marshmallowy.

It usually takes me about five days to break them in, but that could vary.

Carole C

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Suzanne D on 7/24/03 at 20:29 (125169)

I vote for the Arizonas, too. Just be careful while you're getting used to them, particularly on the stairs. As Carole said, they do take a few days to get 'broken in', so gradually get used to wearing them.

Another thought for around the house: you might feel good wearing them with socks. I know that's not great fashion :), but at home they might feel more secure on your feet with socks. It's worth a try! I learned about Thorlo socks from John H. who posts here, and they really feel good. They have a sort of band around the arch area, fitting more snugly there, and that made my feet feel better. You can find them in many stores which sell athletic shoes.

Good luck! I hope the Arizonas help ease your pain.
Suzanne :)

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Dermot on 7/24/03 at 21:11 (125171)

Thanks Suzanne!
After I posted I put on socks and it has helped alot - they feel much more secure.
I NEVER thought I would be caught dead in Birkenstocks - never mind with socks included. I always thought they were for hippies ; )
I can still imagine myself rushing them off my feet before answering the door in case the neighbors were to see me like this - yikes!
I don't really want to wear them for just one hour - I want to keep them on all the time as they feel great and are kinda massaging the fascia.
I will check into the Thorlo's as well.
I was very surprised when the Pod said I should keep running - albeit at a reduced amount to start. I guess support is the key.
I am keeping my fingers crossed about the X-rays.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Dermot on 7/24/03 at 21:12 (125172)

Thanks Carole!
I will try to get used to them see my response to Suzanne below.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

john h on 7/25/03 at 09:39 (125209)

There are a couple of sites that specialize in socks and you can really get good deals on thorlos. frequently you get a one free pair if you buy three pair. do a search under socks and there will be many to chose from.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

john h on 7/25/03 at 09:42 (125210)

Carole: I also do better without the heel strap for whatever reason. I have both. one occasional problem with the airizona is i stem partially oot of it and come down right on my arch on the back of the sandal (ouch).

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

john h on 7/25/03 at 09:44 (125211)

Dermot you will find many people with spurs with no pain and many people with no spurs who have pain. Most of the experts seem to agree the PF pain does not come from a spur. It is merely a symptom.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Kathy G on 7/25/03 at 10:12 (125218)


I am the odd person here as far as Birks are concerned. I have custom ones that my Pod made me and after five years, I have just started to be able to wear them and find that although they increase my arch pain, they seem to lessen my heel pain. Since mine aren't over the counter and I haven't always been able to tolerate them, I'm not typical but for what it's worth, I have the Floridas. I have an extremely narrow foot and these seemed like the way to go.

As for going up and down stairs, I have to be very cognizant of the fact that I'm wearing Birks or I would kill myself, especially climbing the stairs. I have to really raise my feet much higher than usual!

Good luck!

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Dermot on 7/25/03 at 11:11 (125224)

Thanks John.
I got the bad news this morning that I have a heel spur on the front of my heel and a small one on the base of my heel.
I am off to get casted for orthotics on Monday night.
Hpefully I can ove in the category of spur and no pain.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Dorothy on 7/25/03 at 11:31 (125226)

Until you mentioned this painful experience of unintentionally stepping out of the sandal with your arch hitting the back of the sandal, I had forgotten about a similar experience. I used to wear the wooden base sandal with the single leather band over the top that Dr. Scholl's made famous. They have recently made a comeback. They were always recommended as a kind of 'health shoe' because they supposedly caused the toes to grip the slightly raised ridge and had an open back causing the calves to, supposedly, be exercised throughout wearing them. They were cute. However, I would guess that at least 1,000 times I inadvertently slipped out of the sandal and came down hard on the hard wooden edge of that sandal right on my arch. I recall the pain of that quite well, now that you mention your experience. One wonders what damage was done! Those sandals do seem to be the precursor of Birkenstocks, however, since they predate them and have a similar design - but with different materials.

Since the Dr. Scholls sandals are having a resurgence in popularity and are touted as being good for the feet, perhaps it worthwhile to mention this experience with them.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

john h on 7/25/03 at 11:37 (125227)

Dermot: Sometimes Doctors will want to remove the spurs surgically but most medical journals say this is generally not necessary as they are generally not the source of your pain. Hope the orthotics help and make sure you get appropriate shoe to place them in. Many of us wear shoes like SAS, New Balance cross trainers, etc. Your shoe should have a wide toe box and deep enough to accomodate your orthotic. and a sole that is not to flexable. Do not let fashion over rule your selection. I never in my other life pictured my self running around in Birk sandals but at the moment I am sitting in my office with Airizona softbeds, bermuda shorts, and a cool blue shirt watching the world go by outside my window. What type of orthotics are you getting? Hard,soft,semi-rigid. There will also be a break-in time or time of adjustment for your orthotics and you may need to go back to your Doctor to have them adjusted after a trial.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Dermot on 7/25/03 at 11:57 (125228)

I only got the call on the spur this morning and the casting will take place Monday.
The Pod didn't want to recommend orthotics until he viewed the xrays which gave me a higher level of confidence in him.
I am low on the learning curve.
Are you a runner?

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

john h on 7/25/03 at 13:25 (125230)

Dermot: I 'Was' a runner. PF ended that and probably was the major contributor as I continued to run when the PF began and let it become chronic.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Suzanne D on 7/25/03 at 21:38 (125256)

I'm glad the socks make your Birks feel better, Dermot! I think we've all gone through the feeling of 'I really didn't want to wear shoes like this!'. (My husband said I looked like I was ready to be in a Bible drama when I got mine!) But they help so much that you get over worrying about how they look - at least most of the time!

I'm not a doctor but am also surprised at the advice for you to keep on running. But of course I don't know your particular situation.

I wish you the best!
Suzanne :)

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

rose on 7/26/03 at 14:45 (125291)

I purchased both the Arizona and Florida Birks at Sams Club for $39.00. They are great. So if you have a Sam's Store by you, you might check it out. They have them year round in various styles and colors for both men and women. Now it might be that I am in San Diego, where people wear them all year due to the weather. But it is worth checking for the huge savings a real Birks.

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Carole C in NOLA on 7/27/03 at 13:25 (125354)

The only time I have trouble coming out of my Arizonas (or other Birkenstocks) is on stairs when I'm in a huge hurry; for example, a fire drill. But then given our two personalities, I would suspect that probably I walk much more sedately in them than you do! :)

Carole C

Re: New PF'er. First post-help with Birkenstocks

Jan H. on 7/27/03 at 17:51 (125380)

I have Birks that I wear to work every day. However, I found that Walmart makes a sandal-Faded Glory-that has the same shape footbed as the Birks. I have been wearing them away from work and they are very comfortable. They are two strap sandals that I found in the mens shoe department. They only cost 6.95 and I love them. I went back and bought another pair in another color. I'm sure the cork is fake but so far, so good.