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Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Posted by Karen G on 9/20/04 at 13:47 (160201)

hi i bought Arizona softbedded Birkenstocks and i felt like they made my heel pain worse! iwas thinking my be i needed to wear them in slowly. Have Birks made anyone else pain increase.. Thanks xx

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Vern S. on 9/20/04 at 14:54 (160204)

I can only wear mine for about an hour before the pain gets worse.

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Julie on 9/20/04 at 16:33 (160207)

You need to break them in slowly. Start again. Wear them for half an hour a day for a week or so, and then increase gradually in small increments/

I hope they'll feel better soon, and help you.

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Tina H on 9/20/04 at 21:02 (160226)

I have the same problem and I'v had one pair for years. After reading everyone rave about them on this site, I bought 2 more pair and it's the same thing. One pair I wear in the shower, so that's okay, it's just for a short time. Longer use does not work for me and I've had them for two months. It's a shame because I want them to be comfortable like they seem to be for everyone else on this site, but they just aren't. Not sure why. I feel like the arch doesn't hit in the right place or something. Tina

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Julie on 9/21/04 at 01:56 (160238)

Tina, Birkenstocks work for many people, but they aren't comfortable for everyone. They have an orthotic footbed, which will be beneficial for PF sufferers if the 'hills and valleys' correspond to one's particular feet but if they don't (i.e. if the arch doesn't 'hit in the right place', as in your case) the shoes won't be comfortable.

Almost everyone finds them uncomfortable at first, this is why they need to be broken in little by little. But for some people, and you unfortunately seem to be one of them, they won't ever be comfortable. There have been others here for whom that is true.

Custom orthotics, if properly casted and well made, will usually be a better solution. We've had lots of people here who've complained about their custom orthotics too - I suspect because they haven't been properly casted and made (but I could be wrong about that). Birks are a cheaper alternative, but for obvious reasons they won't work for everybody.

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

shirley j on 9/21/04 at 06:32 (160243)

i bought arizona birkenstocks as recommended for heel pain 19/9/04 and they made pain far worse. Dont recommend them

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Julie on 9/21/04 at 11:38 (160258)

Shirley, it's too bad that Birkenstocks didn't work for you, but please do not assume that your experience will be everyone else's experience. Birkenstocks have been very helpful to many people here (I think many more than they have not been helpful to). See my post above to Tina for the reason why they don't work for everyone.

This is one of the problems with an open forum. People post their experience, whatever it is, and readers in search of a cure take everything they read with a degree of seriousness. This can lead to many false trails and wasted time. What everyone with heel pain ought to be doing is getting as much good, solid information as they possibly can from reliable sources such as the heel pain book and from knowledgeable, experienced foot doctors.

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Suzanne D. on 9/21/04 at 16:34 (160273)

You are right, Julie. The more knowledge, the better. And then if someone does try something that has been recommended here, that person needs to realize that he/she made the decision to try it and therefore should not blame anyone if it doesn't help.

I know I bought Birkenstock Arizonas after reading about them here and was happy to learn of something that might help. I was at my wit's end and ready to try new things since nothing else had worked.

My Arizonas were of benefit to me, but it turns out that for my particular foot, other Birkenstocks work better for me. But I learned that by reading and trying and sending shoes back. If it hadn't been for this site, I might still have never heard of Birkenstocks!

I appreciate all I've learned here - even the things that didn't help me may help someone else.

Suzanne :)

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Tina H on 9/22/04 at 16:21 (160353)

Julie- I am so grateful for all the good advice I've gotten here. I'm not at all mad about the Birkenstocks not working for me. That's a drop in the bucket compared to what I've spent in the last year on this foot problem. I think most people who've been around the block with this problem realize that what works for some might not work for them. That's what makes pf so frustrating! Anyway, keep posting, I've learned so much from you and the others on this board!! Tina

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

susan o on 9/23/04 at 15:36 (160404)

Tina, the Birks didn't work for me either. For me they made me feel like I was getting shin splints, even after trying ever so slowly to get used to them. I was surprised to discover, after looking on a Birk site recently that some of the Birks have a lower arch than what is in the Arizonas, so I'm wondering if the lower arch would work for some of us. Has anyone tried Birks with different arches and still been unable to adjust? Plus, I believe for me I just can't wear a shoe without a strap at the back to hold my foot in, otherwise it seems there is more stress on the PF.

Re: Walking in Birkenstocks

Julie on 9/23/04 at 21:35 (160425)

Tina and Susan

I think what many people don't realise about Birkenstock sandals is that you are meant to use your foot muscles when walking in them. The toe bar is a grip: you're meant to curl your toes with every step. This is why the two straps need to be loose-ish: to allow the natural movement of your feet as you curl the toes. This is what holds the sandals on your feet, and if you do it you shouldn't need a heel strap.

And this is actually the whole point of Birkenstocks: when you walk in them you're exercising and strengthening the muscles of your feet, or should be.

Re: Walking in Birkenstocks

Cyndi on 9/24/04 at 13:11 (160443)

Does every Birkenstock have a different footbed?

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Janice N on 9/27/04 at 00:25 (160550)

When your feet hurt as bad as ours does it is hard breaking in any new shoes. All you want is something that feels good and eases your pain. I have a pair of Birks too. They are not broken in yet. But I haven't given up. There sure aren't going to walk off by themselves. I had a friend that wore nothing but hers for three yrs. She just loved these shoes. I still have the walker shoe from the podiatrist. It sure has relived my foot pain in the right foot by 90 percent most days. It has been a little over two wks and I have four more wks to go. The left foot flaired up bad one day. And today. But I am getting alot more sleep than I had in two yrs since the PF showed its ugly head. I hope my foot has really settled down by the sixth wk. It scares me to go out in it. So if by myself I have to use a cane. Sure wish I had this shoe / boot or whatever you call it 2 yrs ago. Now if I didn't have to get up to the bathroom a zillion times a night it would even be better. On the days I am bed bound due to my other problems and don't put the shoe on I can tell the difference. Anyway I wil try to break the Birks in slowly when this shoe comes off. My sister calls me big foot.

Re: Birkenstocks made heel pain worse

Ed Davis, DPM on 10/01/04 at 15:02 (160842)

Your description of the 'hills and valleys' matching the foot is the same description I give when patients ask about Birks. Like any pre-fab, there must be a good match between the foot-orthotic interface and, hopefully, a decent therapeutic effect.