Plantar Fasciitis and Negative Heel Shoes
Plantar Fasciitis is a growing problem for sports enthusiasts, older individuals and the overweight. Pain and incapacity from heel pain and pain underneath the foot is a daily struggle for some, and literally crippling for many. Inflammation of nerves, muscles and tissues prevent walking without pain, especially after sitting or in rising in the morning. There are many theories as to what causes plantar fasciitis, when in fact it seems to arise from several causes.
Runners and other athletes can experience plantar fasciitis after running or engaging in sports that causes trauma or pressure to the feet. These episodes are usually transitory, and can be addressed with anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs. Other, more chronic cases do not seem to respond well to these treatments for the long-term. Chronic cases can result in heel spurs and permanent pain syndromes.
Other types of remedies, such as shoe inserts, are mixed in their success for chronic sufferers. Many people try to find shoes that do not aggravate painful feet, and which relieve pressure on tender and painful areas. Finding the right shoes can be a long and expensive search.
A type of shoe that is being manufactured today may help sufferers with plantar fasciitis. This shoe is called the "negative heel" shoe. Back in the 1960's and 1970's, a shoe fad many may remember was about "earth shoes," and those who wore them may recall that the heel was lower than the rest of the sole. This design, for many young "hippies" and "earth children" was extremely comfortable. In addition to comfort, the lower heel also caused the wearer to stand up straighter, as the shoe would "tilt" the wearer slightly backwards. For those who wore them, they never forgot how comfortable they were.
Earth Brands shoes, because of the negative heel design, stretch the calf muscles and other muscles and tendons that attach to the heel and foot. One of the recommendations for people with plantar fasciitis is to stretch the calf muscles by sitting and pointing the toes upwards. This has had mixed results. It does seem to help, but the underlying causes of pain remain to varying degrees, and the muscles return to the "too-tight" position, and pressure remains on painful areas from shoes that are not designed to treat this ailment.
Earth shoes take some getting used to. They are not as radical as some of the anti-gravity shoes, but they help retrain the muscles and walking mechanics of the wearer. They should be worn for short periods daily until the muscles are able to accommodate the new position of the feet. There may be some discomfort at first, but with a bit of time and practice, tight muscles and foot pain will often yield to the new requirements. In time, these shoes can be worn all the time, and many people who spend many hours on their feet cannot imagine life without them.
One company that makes a whole line of different styles of the negative heel shoe can be found under the title, "Earth Shoes," as the company carries the same name. On their website, the customer will find testimonials on all the different styles regarding comfort and appearance. Prices vary, but as compared to many other brands of shoes, the Earth Shoe is moderately priced.