Put a spring in my step!
September 9, 2006 5:03 PM   Subscribe

I have (a) a bad back (herniated L4-L5) and (b) very flat feet, so with every step I take when walking I feel a huge jolt go up my spine. Without resorting to the ridiculous looking Z-coil shoes, what's the next best thing?

I've tried Merrells and Eccos of various types, and find them to be not much better than anything else - they're comfortable on the foot, but I'm specifically looking for *springiness* - when I rock back on my heels, there should be a distinct sensation of bouncing. The best footwear I've worn in years has been the Teva sandals I got recently which have a "Shoc Pad" in the heel, which I think is some sort of encapsulated gel. I'd really like to find something like that, but in something I could wear during the winter...
posted by dmd to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Dr. Scholls?
posted by fuzzbean at 5:14 PM on September 9, 2006

Blundstone has this SPS thing that is supposed to absorb a lot of shock from the heel. Although they are not soft, per se, they are very comfy and a lot of people I know swear by them. I'd also recommend trying RedBacks, which are hands down the softest boot I've ever owned, and Keen shoes which have nice cushy soles and come in more styles.
posted by fshgrl at 5:24 PM on September 9, 2006

Custom fit innersoles. AKA custom footbeds. www.shoe-fitter.com/fittings.htm
posted by Gungho at 6:24 PM on September 9, 2006

I had the same thing, same place and had steroids injected into the area directly where the herniated disk was. They put you to sleep and inject it via needle no cuts. I had this done twice in 30 day intravals...I thought it didnt work but by golly 6-8 weeks later I realized I just wasnt in pain anymore. My left leg from just above the knee to the toes were numb and painful at the same time sitting standing walking was all painful...the steroid worked as a monster anti inflamatory instead of taking it orally and it circulating thru the body they inject it directly to the inflamation... I have no suggestions for the shoe thing.

My heart goes out to you. Being in constant pain is not fun.
posted by meeshell at 7:16 PM on September 9, 2006

My mum has a similar problem to you, and personally, i'm well on my to being there as well. While it won't solve your problem, getting a podiatrist to make you custom orthotics could help you reduce your current levels of pain, and prevent further injury to your back.

A good podiatrist will assess the way you walk by doing a biomechanical assessment (i think that's what it's called) by getting you to walk barefoot and observing the angles at which your legs move when you walk. They will then make you orthotics that alter the way that you walk in order to build up muscles in other areas of your back/legs to provide support for your back and allow you to walk in a way that will reduce the pain.

Also, i've heard Nike Shox shoes are actually quite springy in the heel region if that is more of a solution that you're after.
posted by cholly at 12:23 AM on September 10, 2006

I think this will probably not be totally helpful, but I think those coil shoes are really cool. It would be like wearing moon shoes all the time! There's a kid at my university that wears them just for fun and I always thought that was a fabulous idea. Just for another perspective . . .
posted by ohio at 9:03 AM on September 10, 2006

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