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Saturday, September 6, 2008

The MBT - All Hail The King!

The MBT is the ultimate shoe - one of the best I have ever seen! Whenever I have patients who come in with chronic foot pain caused by "Overuse Syndrome" - usually caused by a job where they are on their feet all day (i.e. Retail, Teachers, Postal Employees) - I try to get them into an MBT. 

I have a patient who works for the Post Office and she suffers from chronic foot pain due to the fact that she is on her feet eight to ten hours a day. She has several more years till retirement and the only thing that is keeping her going is the MBT. She told me that once she started wearing the MBT, she isn't willing to wear any other shoe. I have another patient who went to many doctors from many different specialties over the last five years and they all told her the same thing - "you just have to live with the pain." Once I got her into the MBT, she came back in eight months later and hugged me. She had lost thirty pounds because she was able to return to exercising and she told me that she's never been happier in her life because now she's able to do all the things she'd been wanting to do but wasn't able. That really made my day!! I could tell more success stories about the MBT, but you get the point...

I own the MBT myself and my goal is to walk at least one hour a day - not that it always happens but when it does, I'm always in my MBT's. Also, whenever I have lower back pain, I immediately put on my MBT's and it's almost instant relief. Remember, if you continue to have lower back pain, please follow up with an orthopedic surgeon for proper evaluation and treatment. 

The shoe is a little funky looking but my experience has been that when someone is dealing with chronic pain that is effecting their lifestyle and activity level, they are usually quite willing to give the MBT a try. I sometimes write prescriptions for my patients who need MBT, which can make it tax deductible. I always counsel people to go to the store, usually Foot Solutions on Scottsdale & Acoma (SW Corner), as they have excellent customer service and they work with you one-on-one to make sure that you're comfortable with the shoe. There is a break-in period with the shoe - usually one hour the first day, two hours the second day, ect... until you are up to a full day of wearing the MBT. I've heard the people at Foot Solutions sometimes tell people that you don't need a custom-molded orthotic with the MBT, but I would have to respectfully disagree. I feel the arch support, whether it's a CMO or an Over-the-Counter Insert only adds to the MBT's power. 

A word of caution! Not everyone can tolerate the MBT. If you have balance problems or a history of falling, this may not be the shoe for you. Also, not everyone can tolerate arch support so I always advise patients to try the MBT and if they don't like it, don't get it. But I also tell them to keep an open mind - the shoe is weird - but in a fabulous "don't your feet feel better" way!   

This shoe is recommended for people with: metatarsalgia, mild to moderate hammertoes, mild bunions (may need some shoe stretching and to prevent progression of the bunion and the MBT will need arch control with a CMO or OTC Insert when you have a bunion), mild to moderate degenerative joint disease of the forefoot and midfoot, mild Morton's Neuroma, mild Tailor's bunions, diabetic patients, neuropathic patients (with particular care to make sure you are measured and in the correct size shoe), tendonitis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), as well as knee, hip, and lower back pain. 

This shoe is not recommended for people with: gait instability (i..e balance problems and history of falling), elderly patients with weakness in the legs or a shuffling gait, Dropfoot, moderate to severe hammertoes, Achille's tendonitis, and moderate to severe bunions (the toe-box may not be wide enough - may need to be stretched).  I would never put an elderly or weak patient in this shoe as it is too heavy - they need a lighter shoe. 

This is an expensive shoe! If you have mild foot problems, you can now buy this shoe at Dillard's for $250. If you have more severe problems or chronic foot pain, go to Foot Solutions at Acoma & Scottsdale so you get more one-on-one attention and more gait training. It is slightly more expensive but worth it.

I give this shoe a solid Nine-Toe Rating on a scale of zero-toes (arch enemy) to ten-toes (foot friendly).

Let me know how you like the shoe!

Have a lovely day...
Cathy McCarthy. 


Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Oops, I forgot! If you want more information on the MBT - please refer to http://www.swissmasaius.com

Craig said...

There has been a lot of discussion on MBT's here:

Kat said...

Have any of you heard of RYN Footwear that is really big in Europe and Asia right now? http://www.rynshoes.co.uk/video-wmv/ They look similar to MBT but claim to have better quality, stability and energy return. Plus I can see more style! They too claim to instantly help relieve the ailments that you outline so well in this article, but also have a Sports High model for people like me who want the maximum immediate strengthening & toning results! Does anyone know where I can buy RYN Footwear in the United States?

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Dear Kat,
I will check into RYN and blog on it at a future date. Thanks for the info! Always looking for a better shoe...
Cathy McCarthy

Adorobella Jewelry and Glass said...

Good Morning Dr., I just read your profile a little more closely this time and see you studied in Buffalo- well that is originally where I am from!

I have a question. The lovely black velcro shoes that I received from you office to wear daily- I was wondering how you feel about Crocs or any other "slipper type" shoe for someone with the bone loss, bunion etc.- to wear on a daily basis? Keeping in mind all the aspects of a shoe you recommended for me. I beleive crocs come with a strap in the back that would hold my foot in place. Please let me know what you think and thanks for your help. Nancy

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for your comments! I was in Buffalo from 1998 through 2000 where I did my residency at the Buffalo V.A. Hospital and Sheehan Hospital. It was a tough two years!! Croc's are actually approved by the American Podiatric Association and I think they are excellent shoes for around the house. They have nice heel cushion, some mild arch control, and they do have that rear foot control if you move the strap backwards. If you are out shopping or doing heavy walking - they are not good enough but, for around the house and light activities, they are very nice. I plan to do an article on it in the future but haven't been able to yet...
Take care!
Cathy McCarthy

Kat said...

I ordered a pair of the RYN Sport High from the UK last fall and I really like the shoe and the extra workout is great for me at least. Not that it matters but I think they are really nicely styled as well.

Anyway it looks like they are in the US now as well http://www.rynfootwearusa.com/

Now I have my eye on the dress shoes fo a second pair.

Daniel said...

Hi Dr,
thanks for the information. I was wondering of you have any financial relationship with MBT?

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Daniel,
No, I don't have any financial interests in any shoe brands or stores. I am simply a Podiatrist in private practice who started a blog to help my patients find better shoes. As I tell my patients, "The first part of the process is to fix the foot problem/pain and the second part is to make sure you are in good shoes and inserts so that the pain does not return."
Hope all is well and thank you for your interest in my blog!
Dr. McCarthy

Cam said...

There has been considerable attention given to the rocker-sole "Active Walking" category of footwear. With many brands entering the marketplace, the wearer should carefully consider their choice of rocker-sole shoes.

If you loose ligaments or unstable feet, you may wish to try a rocker shoe with better medial/lateral stability, such as RYN ofr Finn Comfort. If you have better control over your lower extremities, then MBT and Skechers are just fine.

Having worn both brands of shoes for quite some time, I have written a review comparing and contrasting MBT and RYN shoes:


Chris said...

Dear Dr:
I have neuropathy in my neck and it runs don my left side, down my arm; also I suffer from lower back pain, which I am trying to find a way of strengthening. I have a pair of Shape-Ups and TheraShoes, because I was unable to afford MBTs, which I really want. I really want to know how much better are MBTs? I like the TheraShoe as they are comfortable and great price, but I wonder if I should own a pair of MBTs? Are they far better than the two shoes I own? Will they strengthen my lower back better than the above shoes? Are they that much better? Also, which do you prefer between the shape-up (Skechers) or the TheraShoe more?

Or, perhaps there is another shoe you might recommend (gravity defer, RYN, or anything else). I take meds for my lower back, and I want something that will serve me best; something that will strengthen my lower back if a shoe can truly do so.

I know I have asked a lot, but I need the advice, for a true professional, so I know I am wearing the right shoe. So, thank you for any advice you might have the time to address my questions.

Las Vegas

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Chris,
I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering with chronic pain! Because I am a Podiatrist and specialize in the foot and ankle, it's out of my scope of practice to offer medical advice about your back pain and since I have never seen you as a patient, I am unable to give any advice on your foot and ankle problems BUT I can offer generalized ideas and I highly recommend you follow up with an Orthopedist for your back, Podiatrist for foot and ankle issues and I think that a future consult with a Pain Management Specialist would be helpful. Also, I would discuss with your physician referrals to a Physical Therapist to work on building up your strength and decreasing your pain. I find that Physical Therapy is very helpful!
In the meantime, it's hard to say which shoe would be best for you since I have never done an evaluation on you specifically. I will say that if you have financial issues, the Therashoe should be fine. I would also highly recommend a good over-the-counter insert for arch support. Feel free to call my office at 480-563-5115 and ask them to mail or fax you my "Shoe Recommendation List" which also has a list of approved OTC inserts for your shoes.
Another suggestion: discuss with you doctor getting information, samples and a possible prescription for METANX which I find is very, very effective for people with neuropathy and any chronic pain syndromes. It is a prescription strength vitamin that helps to decrease burning, tingling, and numbness, can help with nerve sheath repair, helps prevent heart disease and help to increase your energy level. Follow up with your physician for information and a prescription if he or she deems it appropriate.
It's an interesting question you ask: can a shoe increase your strength? Well, a shoe can increase or decrease your ability to increase your strength as you exercise but, of course, a shoe will not do it for you. You will get more out of any exercise program with proper shoes but the work has to be done and, in the case of people with chronic pain issues - I highly recommend you do this under the supervision of a Physical Therapist who can also help you design a Home Exercise Program that works for you and helps you meet your specific goals.
I know there is no definative answer in all this! I always tell my patients, no matter what I tell you - the acid test is what works for you! Everyone is different and there is an exception to every rule.
I wish you success- you seem very pro-active and interested in finding answers and my experience has been - those are the patients who tend to get the best results...
Best Wishes,
Dr McCarthy

Kat said...

I also found another article from Cam (who wrote the one above) today that has very useful information on Rocker Soles...


Anonymous said...

Its a great post nice information regarding MBT


Chiropractor Phoenix AZ said...

Hi nice Post written by you guys. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Thank You!