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

do birkenstocks really help?

Posted by tonniaw on 4/05/04 at 15:58 (148436)

I have heard about these shoes from friends and have just ordered some off of QVC. I am a RN who has had to take a desk job because I cannot stay on my feet anymore. I have tried injections-1 shot lasted about 2 months, 2nd shot lasted 3 days. I stretch and ice, never go barefooted. I have even tried a chiropractor, this one told me my feet hurt because I cross my feet at the computer desk...I am also considering the night splints but will have to purchase 2, do they work? Like the rest of you I am HURTING and am so tired of it. Please, any help will be greatly appreiciated.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Michael on 4/05/04 at 20:06 (148453)

Tonniaw I know how you feel I have been in 24/7 pain for 16 months. Please in detail describe your pain I'd like to compare it to mine. My pain is mostly in the arch area and sometimes it shoots into the toes. The pain never stops only the intensity changes. It has changed my whole life. I tried the night splints did not help me. My feet even hurt more while the night splints were on. I like you just want this nightmare to end. Michael

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Chris I on 4/06/04 at 09:18 (148470)

I really believe we should never underestimate the effect this chronic pain has in our lives!! I have found a night splint to be very effective. It keeps the plantar and the calf stretched and eliminates that horrible morning pain. I am significantly pain reduced with the night splint. I also have custom orthotics. My pf foot has a very high arch and they were able to accomodate this with the orthotics. I am also using heel lifts right now as that further takes the pressure off of the fascia. Birkenstocks are very good shoes that provide a great deal of support. I would try orthotics, night splints and birks before any more shots.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Carlos N. on 4/06/04 at 10:35 (148473)


I know what your going through. It's a nigthmare living each day with pain. I'm finally starting to find some relief. Stretching is very important, especially the calf muscles and achilles tendon. Icing is good, too. I use the Strassburg Sock night splint and it has helped me quite a bit. My recover has been slow, so all I can tell you is to hang in there and keep stretching; wear comfortable shoes like Brooks, New Balance, and Birkenstocks. Many posters swear by Birkenstocks.


Re: do birkenstocks really help?

tonniaw on 4/06/04 at 14:54 (148484)

ok, thanks everyone. Since I posted yesterday I have REINJURED my heels. I am a school nurse and this morning we has an emergency requring 911 and I had to run to the opposite side of the building. I have been on ice since and can barely walk.
I am looking at various night splints right now.
My pain is in both my heels, with the worst pain in the medial area. I also get shooting pains. Nothing like jumping out of you chair in the middle of a meeting.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Carlos N. on 4/06/04 at 18:51 (148489)

Sorry to hear about your injury. Ice is good for the inflamation. Also, consider taking ibuprofen (600-1200mgs a day). I'm not a doctor, but taking higher dosages can help you manage the pain. Massaging your feet is also a good way to get some relief. Your shoes may be the source of some of your pain so evaluate your shoe and comfort level. Sometimes, over the counter arch supports like powerstep can help you faster than a night splint. In any case, keep posting here and read Scott's book on this site for helpful tips.


Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Suzanne D. on 4/06/04 at 21:21 (148493)

I am sorry about your pain. I can just imagine running to the opposite side of a school building! I am a teacher (first grade) and know how hard those school floors can be!

I'm sure you've been reading The Heel Pain Book (just click on the link here if you haven't). I'd encourage you to try taping your feet along with the other things you are doing to help yourself. It's cheap and won't hurt you, and it just might help! It helped me during my worst stages of PF. I used the method described in the Heel Pain Book. There's even a short video on the site to show you how Scott (the webmaster) tapes his foot.

Good luck to you!
Suzanne :)

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

tonniaw on 4/07/04 at 15:01 (148546)

Thank you so much. Good news-my patient from yesterday is ok and is out of the hospital.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Suzanne D. on 4/07/04 at 21:26 (148566)

Glad to hear that!

Take care,
Suzanne :)

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Lorinda N on 4/08/04 at 00:38 (148573)

If I didnt have my birks,,,, I would be in trouble. Seems any shoe, except for birks kill my feet ( like they arent already in severe pain)... orthotics didnt help, pt, ice, heat, New Balance shoes,,, I live in my Birks.... from morning to night..... Tho,, if you are going to try birks,,,,, i would suggest ordering from the german site, tho it takes some time to get here,,,,,,,, they are much more affordable there.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Robin B. on 4/09/04 at 19:15 (148629)

Tonniaw --

I'm a person who used to LIVE on this message board, back in 1998 and 1999. I come back to visit occasionally, but for the most part, I am one of those people that others talk about, who pretty much recovered from PF and went away.

I still have PF and think I always will -- but I am about 98% recovered, and so I go about a relatively normal life, including walking on a treadmill each day. I had excrutiating PF in both feet for about 2 years and like most people on this board, tried nearly everything.

Birkenstocks were one of the 3 things that got me better, so although I am biased, I highly recommend them. But -- I recommend that you find yourself a Birkenstock store and be properly fitted (even if you just learn your proper size and go elsewhere to buy them). Left to my own devices, I would have brought a size that was one or two sizes too big, based on my normal shoe size. That would have been a disaster. If the arch support in Birkenstocks turns out to be what you need, it's critical to get the right size -- or the arch support will hit you in the wrong spot.

I have thrown away all my pretty shoes and wear nothing but Birkenstocks, mostly Arizona and Florida. I have about 16 pairs now and, except for treadmill walking, I wear nothing else. (Fortunately, I live in Florida so sandals are a year-round thing for me.)

I also used Bromelain, which is a digestive enzyme that -- taken on an empty stomach, not a full one -- has been known to have anti-inflammatory properties. It did for me. You can do a search on this site -- my little praises to Bromelain probably litter some of the older messages. I took a lot of it for two years and had absolutely no side effects. I did, however, have to take it for 2 or 3 weeks before it kicked in -- but once it did, it never stopped.

The third component for me was rest. I stay off my feet whenever I could, as much as I could. It was embarrassing, how very little I did for 2 years.

PF changed my life. It prevented me from walking 4 or 5 miles a day which I used to love, it made me terribly depressed and it hurt like hell, all the time. I sympathize with you and with everyone here -- I know exactly the pain and frustration and fear and depression. I wish you a remedy somewhere soon, and urge you to keep trying different combinations of treatments to find the right combination for you. It's hard not to give up. I was one of those people who thought I would probably live the rest of my life with PF (and honestly, thought I needed to find a way to make my life shorter, because of all that pain). I was lucky beyond belief to find the right combination for me, after trying a lot of wrong combinations. Believe me, a LOT of people have come and gone from this board in the 6 years I have known about it and many, like me, have mostly recovered or fully recovered. I hope you have much the same experience sooner, not later.

I've been better for about 4 years now -- but to this day, I still give thanks for it. I still recognize how lucky I am. I hope you are too -- and soon.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

Suzanne D. on 4/10/04 at 21:51 (148677)

What a nice post, Robin! Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I came to this board almost three years ago, and I remember people mentioning your name in posts.

I am much better, thankfully, and credit a large part of my healing to what I learned here. That's why I try to keep posting - in hopes that I might help someone as others helped me.

You're right about the Birkenstocks; the arch must hit you in the right spot or they won't help. Trying them on is certainly preferred, and you are lucky if you find someone with expertise to help you.

You're also right about finding 'the right combination' for PF healing. That can take some time, but it's what everyone must strive for.

Best wishes to you!
Suzanne :)

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

john h on 4/11/04 at 11:16 (148686)

Robin: Welcome back. People need to read post like yours to give them some hope.

Re: do birkenstocks really help?

tonniaw on 4/14/04 at 18:11 (148900)

Thanks everyone. I like my birks and my feet do feel a little better in them. I have only had them a couple of weeks and since they are sandals and don't go well with my scrubs I have to change to my new balance for work. I am planning on going to the nearest birkenstock dealer in a few weeks ( I live 85 miles away).
My friend has the soft heel birks and swears by them. I just want to pain to stop. The handicap parking places are beginning to look pretty good about now. I am 42 and am afraid this is how I will have to spend my life, sitting and watching my kids instead of doing what they are doing...