Z-Coil ShoesPosted by Carlos N. on 3/19/04 at 11:53 (147309)
I've been posting here regularly to find out information that can help me deal with my chronic PF. I'm desperate for a solution or recipe to PF. Has anyone tried the Z-Coil shoes?
I currently have a pair of Brooks Addiction (motion control shoe) with my powerstep orthotic, taping, and heel lifts. In the evenings I rest, ice for 15 minutes, and stretch regularly. While I sleep or rest I use a night splint. I sit at my desk for most of the day and my feet still ache when I come home from work.
Does anyone have any feedback on the Z-Coil shoes? Do they help? Are they worth the investment?
Re: Z-Coil ShoesRichard, C.Ped on 3/19/04 at 13:41 (147323)
I don't care for them to much...but thats my opinion. To relieve PF you have to get down to what is causing the injury. The fascia must be supported in order to keep from stretching and causing more problems. If you were to take out the insole from the zcoil, you would see just that it is flat inside. That is not support.
I do know people that like them, but I think for what they cost, and all that I know, I would not get it if my feet hurt.
Now what would be really cool is if the spring actually worked!!! Man! Imagine playing basketball or volleyball or other jumping sports with those things!! woo hoo!!
Re: Z-Coil ShoesCarlos N. on 3/19/04 at 14:30 (147329)
Thanks for your response. In my case what would you recommend since I've only made minimal progress over the last 3-4 months? Would Birkenstocks help? I'm always so fatigued and my feet are always burning and aching. I'm in great shape: 6'4', 205 lbs., 33 years old, and I have a healthy diet. Yet, I feel like an old, tired, and stiff man in the morning.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesRichard, C.Ped on 3/19/04 at 15:15 (147340)
It is really hard to say without seeing you. Many people here love the Birks due to the good footbed it has. As for feeling tired...you are talking to the wrong person. I have a 2.5 year old daughter and a 4 month old son. Yawn. I feel you there.
Before my son was born, I was feeling tired all the time too. I went to the doc for a quick check up and she said my iron was low. She prescribed 5 grain iron tabs daily, which really helped. Don't go taking iron on your own. There are plenty of side effects. I would see the doc about all that.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesPaul S on 3/19/04 at 22:12 (147363)
I think the Birks really helped me recover from PF. They have a great foot bed and a heel that really lessens the pain of PF. What I have not seen mentioned and what I think is their best feature is their very low heel height. I believe that this feature slowly stretches the areas that are the cause of PF in the first place. Birks are all that I wear at home. I have a wet pair for the shower and another for regular wear. One thing that I did was never stopping excercising. Even when my heel was at its worse I would walk on my treadmill. Mind you I had to hold on with my left hand supporting some of my weight cause it was my left heel that was bothering me. Of course while I was walking I wore some good New Balance walking shoes. I also restarted COQ10 which I also feel was beneficial.
Anyways good luck and there is a pain free future out there.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesCarlos N. on 3/20/04 at 13:54 (147401)
Thanks for the reply. I think I'll consider using the Birks. Also, what kind of exercises did you do? I stretch alot and lift light weights to strengthen my lower legs.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/20/04 at 14:50 (147412)
I do own a pair -- just was very curious. It is akin to walking with a high heel due to the height of the spring. Surprisingly stable for a 'heeled' shoe but too much wear can cause tightening/shortening of the achilles just like any high heeled shoe (cowboy boots included). Most of the models have exposed springs so rocks get lodged in them-- ouch. Good for level surfaces but more difficult on hills. Like a good cowboy boot, the subtalar joint is placed in more supination and the MTJ in more pronation, thus decreases strain on the fascia. I would consider them for intermittent wear.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesPaul S on 3/20/04 at 16:18 (147414)
Carlos, Here is an address with a good description of coq10. I used Julie's yoga stretches every morning before getting out of bed and an incline board later in the day.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesRichard, C.Ped on 3/20/04 at 20:24 (147436)
Yes, I guess it would be good if the PF is caused by a short heel cord. I agree for only intermittent use as well.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesTim M on 3/22/04 at 15:02 (147526)
I wear Z-Coils and I would like to clear up a couple of inaccuracies I read in this thread.
As you stand in your Z-Coils, the heel spring compresses (well below 1.5 at the heel) and, because of the thickness of the forefoot area, there is no high-heel effect. The doctors on this site will tell you that there is no way your Pod should cast you for orthotics while you are standing and your feet are weight-bearing. Measuring the height of the Z-Coil shoe, WITHOUT you standing in them, is the same thing in reverse: you won't get a true reading as to how they operate and should operate.
Now, when you stand in them, and the heel compresses, the ¾ orthotic levels out and you notice another important thing: the orthotic is definitely not flat and it definitely cradles your arch. If it doesn't seem like enough support, then get an OTC insole with arch support; I like the Dr. Scholl Advantage Sport, they give me just as much support as my custom orthotics.
I have hiked and worked in my Z-Coil High Desert hiking boots and my Z-Coil Freedom 2000 athletic shoes for over 7 months now. I have never gotten a rock caught in them, but if that is your concern you can get them with heel covers for the heel springs. They make a heavy-duty work boot which comes standard that way.
I've had PF since 1980. I actually broke one of my hard-plastic orthotics about a year ago and injured my heel and the outside of my foot in the process. Cortisone shots, new orthotics and oral meds reduced the pain to a dull throb. The Z-Coils have me about 99% pain free. I'm looking at getting back to hiking the Grand Canyon sometime this Spring.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/22/04 at 19:45 (147558)
Sorry but my Z-coils do not compress below 1.5' at the heel. Do you think I was misfit with the wrong spring? Also, I have never gone for a walk and not gotten rocks lodged in the springs and spring covers were not offered as an option to me - something I would obtain if available. Perhaps it depends on the type of terrain one is on- - the Northwest is much different from the desert Southwest where the shoes originate.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesTim M on 3/22/04 at 21:37 (147561)
I know I got the default spring for my US size 10-1/2 Z-Coils. I'm 5' 11' and weigh in at about 175 pounds. When I purchased my hiking boots, I told the store owner about my desire to get back to backpacking. After he fitted me, he had me walk around on their little walking trail in the store. He then asked me about how much my pack weighed. One of my fully loaded packs, at the trail head, is around 45 pounds and drops to about 30 pounds on the way out.
He told me I was borderline and should test-hike with a full pack. The key, he said, was to not 'bottom out' under a full pack and not be bouncing around on a heavy spring the rest of the time. The shoe is designed to return about 50% of the energy of each step and it can't do that if the spring doesn't compress. I'll probably take both sets of springs with me so that I can use the lighter spring when the pack lightens.
Replaceable springs brings up another point: cost. The only thing that wears out on the Z-Coil is the spring, which you replace for about 35 bucks a set. So when I consider that I wear out a pair of Brooks in about 10 months and a pair of New Balance in about a year-and-a-half, and a set of Z-Coil springs in what looks to be about a year ... the cost for shoes really comes out in favor of the Z-Coil.
There may be something to your point about a difference between Northwest and Southwest rocks. I'm an Arizonan, and the rocks around here are similar to the ones in the Z-Coil home of New Mexico. Do look into the spring covers.
Sorry for this long post. I just wanted to say what great service and support you and all the doctors and knowledgeable visitors on this site provide for folks with this condition. I tend to overdo it at times, and I have found your tips and advice an invaluable resource for recovery.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/22/04 at 22:34 (147567)
I obtained mine online, direct from the company. It sounds like going to a store where a knowledgeable fitter exist may be a better option. Going to a softer spring may be a good option but wonder if a softer spring would sacrifice some of the stability. A new store has recently opened in my area.
Small pebbles are not a problem as they fall through but the problematic ones are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch found in gravel and on the sides of roads up here in the northwest. I will talk to the store owner but assume that spring covers would be a standard for this region. The other reason for the spring covers would be to avoid getting hooked on the rungs of ladders and stools. Are the springs self - replacable or does one have to send them (or go to stores) for the replacement? It was my understanding that there was some directionality to the springs in that the positioning could be changed for pronators or supinators.
Thank you for your posts.
Re: Z-Coil Shoesfrancesc on 3/22/04 at 22:43 (147568)
i am also a gym rat and i noticed that you said that even though you have a desk job, you still have chronic PF even though you stretch, ice, and manage to stay off your feet.
so i'm wondering if maybe your weight-lifting may have stressed your PF and taht's why you can't seem to get better... i know this is probably not your ideal solution but, can you cut back on the amount of weight you lift? or better yet, don't do any heavy weights for a week and see if you notice a change.
from everything you wrote, you are doing the right things and the main thing is that you are off your feet at work so you SHOULD see more progress than those of us who are on our feet a lot.
i just suggest this (am not a doctor) because i noticed that when i used to carry my daughter around (a good 33lbs+), my PF would be more sore the next day!
i know how hard it is to adjust your routine but, with chronic PF, you really have to re-adjust your life! so, i figure, a little gym adjustment is minor compared to being able to enjoy my life.
hope this helps.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/22/04 at 22:45 (147569)
Yes, no one product irrespective of quality or design is best for all individuals although, after Tim's post below, this may be one item to add to your armamentarium. I can envision sufficient numbers of circumstances where this product would be of benefit for certain individuals for intermittent use. I see the benefit going to individuals who are somewhat limber, athletic (can't imagine a little old lady in one of these) for walking, running and intermittently for factory workers on hard surfaces but would need to be more confident of safety/stability issues (the spring covers would be a must for most plants that I can envision). The bare springs could cause difficulties on ladders, metal grates and scaffoldings like the ones my Boeing employee patients stand on but the spring covers could solve that. I will definitely take another look now that a store has opened in the area.
Re: Z-Coil Shoes, ps. JohnEd Davis, DPM on 3/22/04 at 22:50 (147571)
John and Tim:
I would be curious to see how John would do with a pair of Z-coils. He is athletic, gung ho, objective, knowlegeable and has a history, based on information he has provided to be a good testor. We could enlist him as the official heelspurs.com testor for this shoe and have him report back to us.
Re: Z-Coil Shoes, ps. JohnEd Davis, DPM on 3/22/04 at 22:59 (147574)
I have placed an invitation for John on the Social Board. His background and objectivity will make him an ideal testor. It is my hope that, if he accepts, we can test the product under different circumstances, terrains, surfaces and possibly some industrial scenarios. ScottR will assume all liability (just kidding ;) ).
Re: CarlosKathy G on 3/23/04 at 08:21 (147587)
I'm sorry that you aren't making any headway in your battle with PF. It can be a long and frustrating journey and it's not unusual to get discouraged. Remember that 95% of people who get PF eventually get better. They always have to be mindful of their feet but most do go back to a 'foot-normal' way of life.
Have you read Scott's Heel Pain Book? It contains some great information. As for your stretches, perhaps you are overdoing it a bit. I would strongly recommend Julie's Yoga exercises. You can do them any time, even while you're sitting at your desk.
I would go see my PCP about feeling tired all the time. It could be that you're just worn down from the pain but a physical can't hurt.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesTim M on 3/23/04 at 09:43 (147595)
You're right about the ladders and stools. Even with the heel covers, there are certain situations where I wouldn't wear them because of the uncompressed heel height: bicycles and motorcycles come to mind.
Yes, you can replace the springs yourself and there are various ways you can adjust the springs. I over pronate, so when I got my first pair I immediately swapped the left shoe spring with the right shoe spring, the position for over pronators; there is a real difference.
Someone else here was asking about the elderly and the level of athleticism which might be needed. There's some merit to the idea that someone who needs a walker shouldn't buy Z-Coils. I have a family friend who has severe arthritis coupled with diabetes and has had to have operations to remove damaged tissue and bone from his feet; definitely not a candidate for Z-Coils and I told him so when he asked.
Re: Z-Coil Shoes, ps. JohnTim M on 3/23/04 at 10:01 (147600)
John should give them a try. Hey, I think I'm a pretty tough sell, and when my wife handed me the newspaper article about Z-Coils I said 'Yeah, right, snake oil. But after a few more months of just not really progressing I found the nearest store and bought a pair. I could tell the difference within a week.
As I said previously, there are some folks who probably wouldn't get any benefit from them, but I know from my own experience that, for me, they are a primary weapon in my battle against this condition.
Re: CarlosCarlos N. on 3/23/04 at 10:30 (147606)
Thanks! You're so right about PF. I hate it but I believe I can get relief soon. In working with my doctor I have decided on a new custom made orthotic. I not only need an arch but my heels need additional support because I have really bad biomechanics.
I have read Scott's book; it's great. Julie's stretches are good too especially in the morning and at my desk. The pain has burnt me out, especially in the last couple of years. I'll keep posting to update on my recovery.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesCarlos N. on 3/23/04 at 10:36 (147608)
I do very light weight lifting on my feet. I do light weight with lots of reps. I want to build some strength in my legs and keep my joints in motion. However, my problem lies in biomechanics. This makes my PF chronic. I think at this point I have to revisit the idea of another custom orthotic. Perhaps then I'll finally get relief.
Re: Z-Coil Shoes, ps. JohnEd Davis, DPM on 3/23/04 at 21:39 (147647)
I think that I and Richard have too much of an ingrained bias that could get in the way of our decisions and that is why I prefer to see others as testors.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/23/04 at 21:41 (147648)
Do you think that the spring covers would be adequate to prevent problems on rungs of ladders (the round rungs on some aluminum ladders) and on scaffoldings?
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/23/04 at 21:43 (147649)
Again, I am trying to envision them at use by my Boeing machinist patients. Concerned about the springs catching on things. They stand for hours on metal grates which is hard on PF.
Re: Z-Coil Shoes, ps. JohnTim M on 3/24/04 at 09:13 (147658)
I know where you're coming from; my podiatrist was hesitant to recommend them because of what he felt was a lack of hard research into them. He felt the vast majority of information about Z-Coils was anecdotal rather than based in genuine study. And I agree with him. But I think that is true about a lot of products for a lot of medical conditions.
His guarded suggestion to try them goes to his patients like me, who have an active lifestyle, and not to 80-year-old grandmothers with osteoporosis.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesTim M on 3/24/04 at 09:25 (147659)
The company literature definitely cautions against using the uncovered springs on ladders. I have just seen the covers, I've never used them, so I'm probably not the best person to ask about them and how they operate.
But here's a thought: somewhere in the dim and distant past I seem to recall that OSHA had a real problem with cowboy boots on construction sites; I think because of the heel height and the possibility of the boot hanging on ladder rungs and other things. It seems to me that the unloaded heel spring on the Z-Coil might fit into that same category, so a phone call to OSHA might be a good direction to go.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesTim M on 3/24/04 at 09:29 (147660)
What's the density on the grate? Do you think it would be possible to poke the spring through one of the grate squares?
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/26/04 at 23:28 (147913)
I am unsure but tend to think that they could not. I don't have access so am unsure about things like railings, ladders, steps, etc.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesEd Davis, DPM on 3/26/04 at 23:31 (147914)
Interesting. Cowboy boots, in my limited experience seem to 'grab' the rungs of ladders and even feel more secure to me. The heel is solid on cowboy boots. If the 'cover' of the springs has sufficient thickness and durometer, then it may not be an issue -- I would need to see the covers.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesTim M on 3/27/04 at 14:37 (147966)
Yup, exactly right; cowboy boot soles and heels are made to 'grab' the stirrups so your feet don't slip out of them. I think that's what gives OSHA heartburn: imagine an iron worker tying rebar reinforcement on a concrete highway job. He has to step up on top of some rebar grids, his heel slips down onto a horizontal rebar, which grabs his boot just like a stirrup, and he falls forward ... impaling himself on a vertical piece of rebar just a few feet away.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesPaul Hunter on 4/06/04 at 11:27 (148475)
'If you were to take out the insole from the zcoil, you would see just that it is flat inside. That is not support'
That is incorrect, you have clearly never looked at a pair of Z-Coils. The Z-Coil built in orthotic is a UCBL Full length orthotic.
Yes I wear Z-Coils and they have completely taken care of my PF as well as lower back pain.
Re: Z-Coil ShoesDeb on 4/09/04 at 15:14 (148623)
I don't think you should knock 'em till you've tried 'em. They are NOT flat on the inside. They do have an arch support - a rigid built-in orthotic - which stabilizes the foot. They help many, many people with plantar faciitis and heel spurs. As for the price. Its about $150-$170 for most of them. Seems a lot cheaper that $400-$600 orthotics doctors try to sell you. I wear them for bad knees - it relieves my pain. But I have several friends who wear them because of PF and love them.
Re: Z-Coil Shoesjason on 4/19/04 at 11:53 (149133)
The Z-CoiL Shoe has a UBCL orthotic that has a 4-5 degree arch suport. Just so you know.