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"Toning Shoes" and Arthritis?

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Old 11-28-2011, 06:53 PM   #1
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Lightbulb "Toning Shoes" and Arthritis?

Ok, I know that "toning shoes" don't really make us lose weight or "tone" or any of that. That is not why I was going to buy them.
I was just randomly reading stuff on this site and saw how someone said they bought the shoes for their arthritis and the shoes helped them walk better, without pain.

Username "lolcat" says it here
Toning Shoes -- Do They Work?

I was wondering about that. My mom is overweight and has arthritis really bad in her hips, feet and body. She has gout. She has trouble moving around alot and is in pain/limps when she walks. I was wondering about people's experiences with these shoes who have arthritis. Care to share, please?
I think if this might be helpful, it would be a great Christmas present for her...?
Questions:
If you have arthritis and wear these shoes, have you ever fallen because they threw you off balance?
Have they helped you walk better?
How are they walking up and down stairs, walking outside, walking in your house ect?
Do they hurt your feet?
Any other comments you want to leave about how they have or have not helped your arthritis.

Thanks for commenting! If you have arthritis and have any other good ideas of gifts I could get her, please recommend!! I've been trying to get her to exercise with me, but she won't...and I know she has trouble finding shoes that work for her in general so these might not even help. If we are out shopping she actually has to take her shoes off in the car and puts on slippers. Occasionally she has bought a pair of shoes at a store, tried them on there and decided they fit. But, after buying them we would get them on and they would be too small-her feet swell alot?
Thanks for reading!
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:08 PM   #2
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Everything I've read indicates they are really hard on people with any hip issues. I'd suggest more research before you buy them for her. I know my own Mother had to return hers because of the hip pain and her arthritis isn't that bad.

What about just getting her nice, supportive sneakers that fit her perfectly, maybe get a fitting with someone who specializes in that? I've found both Keen and New Balance are easy on my hips, back and knees.

Last edited by CyndiM : 11-28-2011 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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The toning shoes are probably the worst choice for people with foot problems (I'll explain below).

I have a lot of pain, balance, and mobility problems (arthritis, fibromyalgia and horrible balance), and I've only found three brands of shoes that I can wear. New Balance, Halflinger, and Birkenstock.

If she has a wide extra wide foot (I do), I'd recommend looking at both men and women's styles. Often shoe stores carry very few styles in women's extra-wide. However men's shoes are a bit wider. So while I wear a 9EW in women's, I wear a men's 8 regular or a 7W.

I can find nicer and even what I consider more "feminine" styles in the men's shoes than in the extra-wide women's shoes.

I've heard there are now better brands than New Balance, so I'd recommend going to a higher-end shoe store (ideally one in which someone on the staff is trained to measure for orthotics, because these folks can look at your feet and how you walk, and help you pick the right shoe for you). You do have to be firm about your budget though, and state it up front, because you want the best shoe for the price you can afford. Otherwise, they may be able to persuade you to buy $300 shoes and $600 orthotics.






As to why I wouldn't recommend the toning shoes for anyone with pain, balance or mobility issue:

I have multiple health issues, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, and extremely horrible balance, so when I saw the shoes advertised, I was interested, so my husband and I went to the shoe store where my husband's best friend works. The staff there (and it's a very high-end store) told me to avoid these shoes at all costs.

They decided to stop carrying these types of shoes, because of the complaints and high return rate. At first they tried to institute a "no-return" policy for any reason other than a product defect, but that didn't stop people from returning them (insisting there had to be something WRONG with the shoes because they were so painful to walk in). Then they started instructing staff to warn customers that these shoes were uncomfortable or even painful to walk in, and that there were no returns on them. Customers still came back (even after being warned) and wanted to get a refund (either denying that they had been warned, or complaining that the shoe must have been defective...) Finally the store manager decided to stop carrying them at all, and even refused to custom order them for customers.

The people who returned the shoes weren't only people with weight, health, or pain issues.... even young, fit "in shape" people returned them because "they hurt" their calves when they walked.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:49 AM   #4
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I think shoes are a very personal issue. I have spent most of my life working on concrete floors, on my feet. And I had a horrid, vomitrocious, bout of plantar faciatis, (sp?), aka, heel spurs. If you have never had this, having a baby is less painful. Done both!

I am way fussy about my work shoes. I have a pair of Reebok toners, love them. But I also have a pair of Asics, Under Armour and Saucany running shoes.

Those toners with the rocking sole, like Skechers, will not work for me to work in. I do have a pair of sandals with that sole. Great to walk in, but not for standing, will kill your arches.

Now and then, even though I don't have big feet, I do buy mens running shoes, or winter boots, they are just more comfy, I think they offer more support.

I don't wear my Reebok toners to lift weights in because of the balance issue. These shoes are very specific, and not balance friendly, but I love to wear them to work. They are comfy and my heels don't bother me.

My mother, who is obese, and has HUGE feet. 10 1/2 WIDE! And is non insulin dependent diabetic, wears nothing but open toe Birks, unless it's like 20 below 0. Then she puts on a pair of socks and closed to Birks.

I guess, I would take her shopping, late in the afternoon, cuz your feet/ankles swell late in the day. Hit some high end stores and just try on shoes. Try on both shoes and walk around the store, and figure out what works the best. Then maybe go back later and buy.

I went shoe shopping yesterday. Needed a new pair for work. Clerk asked me which shoe I wanted to try on, lol. BOTH! Walked around store, shoes comfy, bought them. Wore them all day at work. Comfy still when I got home!

If you really want to gift a pair of shoes, take the giftee shopping, and let them pick them.
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:32 AM   #5
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I love my toning shoes! On the elliptical trainer, my toes used to go numb from the balls of my feet bearing much of my weight, the friction of the shoe, etc. I was using a Saucony ProGrid Stabil 4 shoe in a wide width, a special, expensive shoe designed for ultimate stability and overpronation control. Still, my toes were going numb! When I switched to using toners on the elliptical, it redistributed my gait so that my foot rocks back and forth on the pedals, the weight is more evenly distributed throughout my gait, and my foot rolls though the motion effortlessly. I was able to double my distance AND increase the difficulty on the elliptical after switching to toners.

I use them when walking the dog as well, but on uneven ground they are a bit tricky. If you are the slightest bit wobbly on them, you can tweak yourself pretty badly, especially walking a dog. They now make lower profile toners which don't rock as much; I would definitely recommend them for a beginner or someone with arthritis/joint issues. At least until they have built up their strength and gotten used to them.
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. She usually wears sketchers or reeboks and she has alot of shoes. It isn't that she doesn't have many shoes, I just figured that if those shoes would reduce her pain, I would go buy her a pair of them.
But thanks for the comments. It sounds like they are not very good shoes for anyone!
Kaplods & others-has there been anything else other than a specific shoe that might have reduced your arthritis and fibro pain?
I know she likes movies and that would kind of be an easy thing to get her, but I also wanted to get her something that might help her be more mobile...instead of a movie that encourages her to stay sitting/in pain.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagny18 View Post
Kaplods & others-has there been anything else other than a specific shoe that might have reduced your arthritis and fibro pain?

A heating blanket has been a lifesaver for me, when my joints are really hurting, especially if it's because of damp, cold weather. I went with an electric throw rather than a bed-sized heating blanket, because of the cost.

Before I was able to exercise, I would take my pain meds and would lie under the heating blanket until I was comfortable (or as comfortable as I could get) and then I would gently stretch and move all my arms and legs in bed (I even rented videotapes for bed-exercise from the library and then chair-dancing tapes).

When I was stronger, I would go to a warm water arthritis exercise program - super amazing. These programs aren't all that difficult to find, but you do have to know where to look/who to ask. The Arthritis Foundation or your local United Way or Department on Aging and Disability Resources (the name can vary from state to state so you type in your city and state into google search bar along with the words - department aging.

Or you can call local indoor pools (such as the YMCA) and ask their water temperature (you want a minimum of 85 degrees, and the closer you get to 90, the more comfortable the water).

It's amazing how much my joints were relieved by exercising in water. Not only could I exercise in water, just being in the water relieved my pain.

However, to be fair, my doctors actually encouraged me to use my stronger pain meds in order to exercise. I wouldn't have been able to get in the water without my pain medication.

It is important to make sure her pain is being treated properly. It's a lot easier (and takes far less medication) to prevent pain and keep it away, than it is to treat pain once it's taken hold. This is almost the polar opposite of what we've been taught (that a good, "strong" person refuses all pain medications until the pain becomes unbearable).

However pain specialist doctors will tell you that you can generally take fewer meds and get more relief if you're on a steady medication schedule.

For anyone who thinks they have too much pain from arthritis or fibro to exercise, I would recommend that they see a pain specialist, or a rheumatologist if at all possible (or both).

Until you have good pain relief, exercise is torture, so you have to have a good treatment plan from your doctor, and good pain relief.

I was shocked that my doctor was willing to give me stronger meds so that I could exercise. At first I thought it was a really bad idea to drug myself up to exercise (won't I hurt myself, I asked?) My doctor told me that if I chose warm water exercise, and was careful, the risks of injury were lower than the risks of not exercising because it hurt too much.


My mother also has severe arthritis, and she wasn't really able to exercise her legs until she had knee replacement surgery. Surprisingly, a Wii game helped her get some movement in. She would play the games with the grandchildren, and she couldn't do it long, but it was fun, so she got in at least a little movement that way.


The hardest part about exercising with pain, is that every instinct tells you that it's wrong. As my doctor joked, pain is the body's way of saying "STOP DOING THAT!)

So pain control really is the first order of business (I know that will sound controversial to many people, but it's why I recommend a pain specialist, or a doctor who specializes in painful conditions, who may or may not make a referral to a pain specialist).

A lot of times people are afraid that a pain specialist is either going to push very strong narcotic drugs - or that they're going to take away pain meds that are working. Both are misconceptions. Pain specialists help you find the most effective pain relief and medication schedule, with the fewest side effects.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply. A heating blanket sounds like a good idea, but she always complains that she is hot and picks on my dad and I when we cover up with a blanket in the house.
She is on pain meds. But...her body is odd and some of the meds they put her on she had allergic reactions to. And then she was on this one medication that apparently was helping her for a while but then they took it off the market...one of those that were causing deaths or something (I don't remember the name) but she said that it never felt like it hurt her but really improved her. Still it is off the market so she can't use it...
Now she takes pink pills and they actually make her sleepy alot.
They've even wanted to do things like give her injections into the joint?!? One doctor recommended that and mom said no way, and then when she saw her regular doctor that doctor said an injection like that (into the hip bone) was a bad idea and could make it worse.
We go to a general doctor. I don't think she has ever seen a specialist.








Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
A heating blanket has been a lifesaver for me, when my joints are really hurting, especially if it's because of damp, cold weather. I went with an electric throw rather than a bed-sized heating blanket, because of the cost.

Before I was able to exercise, I would take my pain meds and would lie under the heating blanket until I was comfortable (or as comfortable as I could get) and then I would gently stretch and move all my arms and legs in bed (I even rented videotapes for bed-exercise from the library and then chair-dancing tapes).

When I was stronger, I would go to a warm water arthritis exercise program - super amazing. These programs aren't all that difficult to find, but you do have to know where to look/who to ask. The Arthritis Foundation or your local United Way or Department on Aging and Disability Resources (the name can vary from state to state so you type in your city and state into google search bar along with the words - department aging.

Or you can call local indoor pools (such as the YMCA) and ask their water temperature (you want a minimum of 85 degrees, and the closer you get to 90, the more comfortable the water).

It's amazing how much my joints were relieved by exercising in water. Not only could I exercise in water, just being in the water relieved my pain.

However, to be fair, my doctors actually encouraged me to use my stronger pain meds in order to exercise. I wouldn't have been able to get in the water without my pain medication.

It is important to make sure her pain is being treated properly. It's a lot easier (and takes far less medication) to prevent pain and keep it away, than it is to treat pain once it's taken hold. This is almost the polar opposite of what we've been taught (that a good, "strong" person refuses all pain medications until the pain becomes unbearable).

However pain specialist doctors will tell you that you can generally take fewer meds and get more relief if you're on a steady medication schedule.

For anyone who thinks they have too much pain from arthritis or fibro to exercise, I would recommend that they see a pain specialist, or a rheumatologist if at all possible (or both).

Until you have good pain relief, exercise is torture, so you have to have a good treatment plan from your doctor, and good pain relief.

I was shocked that my doctor was willing to give me stronger meds so that I could exercise. At first I thought it was a really bad idea to drug myself up to exercise (won't I hurt myself, I asked?) My doctor told me that if I chose warm water exercise, and was careful, the risks of injury were lower than the risks of not exercising because it hurt too much.


My mother also has severe arthritis, and she wasn't really able to exercise her legs until she had knee replacement surgery. Surprisingly, a Wii game helped her get some movement in. She would play the games with the grandchildren, and she couldn't do it long, but it was fun, so she got in at least a little movement that way.


The hardest part about exercising with pain, is that every instinct tells you that it's wrong. As my doctor joked, pain is the body's way of saying "STOP DOING THAT!)

So pain control really is the first order of business (I know that will sound controversial to many people, but it's why I recommend a pain specialist, or a doctor who specializes in painful conditions, who may or may not make a referral to a pain specialist).

A lot of times people are afraid that a pain specialist is either going to push very strong narcotic drugs - or that they're going to take away pain meds that are working. Both are misconceptions. Pain specialists help you find the most effective pain relief and medication schedule, with the fewest side effects.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:53 PM   #9
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Brand of shoe probably varies with where and type of problem. I swear by Keens and New Balance for back and knee support. So far nothing makes much of a difference to my hips.

Kaplods- The hardest thing for me was distinguishing between acute and chronic pain and understanding I wasn't doing any damage when it was chronic pain. Accepting that and pushing just 5 minutes past it every day moved that threshold but it took time and some days it's still not very long.

I found really gentle yoga was great. My PT actually had classes at her office.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:05 AM   #10
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Meds are tricky. My mother, my husband, and I have all experienced difficulties with pain meds, including allergies and meds becoming unavailable (I think darvocet just went off the market. It was working pretty well for hubby, but they had to switch him to vicodin).

I'm on tramadol, and was on relafen (an NSAID like ibuproven). We learned that the relafen was causing my asthma (getting off NSAIDs allowed me to get off all asthma medications with the exception of one rescue inhaler, which I rarely need). That was really tough, but I found that fish oil and vitamin D helped a lot, but it took abouth a month to notice. I'd recommend that your mom ask her doctor if she could try those supplements.

I think it's really hard for people to see the point of exercising for one minute, if that's all you're able to do. But if that's where you have to start, then do what you can and then next time go for 75 seconds...

But we're taught to believe that exercise "only counts" if it's at least 20 minutes of heavy sweating, at least 3 times a week.

My hubby was my cheerleader. When I first started, he had not yet had his accident (which accelerated the damage of a degenerative joint disease he inherited from his mother, and he is now also on disability). When he came home from work, and saw that I had done the dishes, or made dinner (even if it was in the crockpot), he would make a big fuss.

Even though exercise really does help control pain, it's really hard to exercise when you're in pain. Personally, I think physical therapy should be more accessible. As it is now, by the time insurance covers physical therapy it tends to be too little, too late.

If there's an arthritis or chronic illness support group, that can help alot.

Personally, if your Mom would be open to it, I'd recommend joining TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly). The national dues right now are $26 and will go up to $28 in January. The price includes a newsletter that is a nice glossy magazine. Additional members in the same household pay half price but only one magazine is sent to the house.

Monthly dues are usually around $5 or less, but I've been in groups with dues as low as $2.

Most groups also run contests and other ways to earn prizes and small amounts of cash, or free monthly dues with weight loss.

If there are several groups in your area, I'd recommend visiting them all before deciding on which to join. Often though, groups have a lot of older members, and members with health issues and other obstacles to exercise and weight loss.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shcirerf View Post
I think shoes are a very personal issue. I have spent most of my life working on concrete floors, on my feet. And I had a horrid, vomitrocious, bout of plantar faciatis, (sp?), aka, heel spurs. If you have never had this, having a baby is less painful. Done both!

I am way fussy about my work shoes. I have a pair of Reebok toners, love them. But I also have a pair of Asics, Under Armour and Saucany running shoes.

Those toners with the rocking sole, like Skechers, will not work for me to work in. I do have a pair of sandals with that sole. Great to walk in, but not for standing, will kill your arches.

Now and then, even though I don't have big feet, I do buy mens running shoes, or winter boots, they are just more comfy, I think they offer more support.

I don't wear my Reebok toners to lift weights in because of the balance issue. These shoes are very specific, and not balance friendly, but I love to wear them to work. They are comfy and my heels don't bother me.

My mother, who is obese, and has HUGE feet. 10 1/2 WIDE! And is non insulin dependent diabetic, wears nothing but open toe Birks, unless it's like 20 below 0. Then she puts on a pair of socks and closed to Birks.

I guess, I would take her shopping, late in the afternoon, cuz your feet/ankles swell late in the day. Hit some high end stores and just try on shoes. Try on both shoes and walk around the store, and figure out what works the best. Then maybe go back later and buy.

I went shoe shopping yesterday. Needed a new pair for work. Clerk asked me which shoe I wanted to try on, lol. BOTH! Walked around store, shoes comfy, bought them. Wore them all day at work. Comfy still when I got home!

If you really want to gift a pair of shoes, take the giftee shopping, and let them pick them.
GOOD advice!!

I want to add a few things. I bought the Sketchers, the joggers and the sandals and sold them both on Ebay. I have back, knee and hip problems, some arthritis, but have also had injuries but I thought the shoes would be ok. My daughter had back injuries, and she loved the Sketchers joggers. But then, she is 23 years younger than me, shorter and more muscular, and in much better shape, as I haven't been able to exercise properly since my knee injuries.
The shoes really aggravated my back and hips. And threw me off-balance. I don't think you would want to risk your mother having a bad fall. I never took falls seriously until I discovered that my husband's grandmother was falling.....a lot. We moved her to an easier to navigate house, and then not long after that, my aunt, in her 90s, fell backwards through a plate-glass window! Luckily, she wasn't cut, but broke her arm.
I like the Birkenstocks better, but actually, I like to wear river sandals (Teva, Chaco or Ryka are my favs)
but in the winter I have boots that I love my new BearPaws! They feel as soft as fuzzy slippers, but have a good tread for no slip, and are completely waterproof, snowproof and warm!

My husband has plantar fasciatis, and the best shoes he's found for it are the ones with the most support, his Harley boots.

Lastly, size 10 1/2 isn't huge, how tall is she? Feet are usually in proportion to the body. I have a friend who weighs more than me who has size 6 feet, and my husband calls her feet "sheep hooves". That is an odd mis-proportion. Just sayin".....
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #12
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@Dagny: maybe she has hot flashes. I can't use heat much because of the hot flashes, although I got the hot, cold and electric stimulation from the MendMe store. The electric (Tens Unit) was a life-saver the last time my hip went out!
Sorry about the meds, but I had the injections in my foot and my mother had injections in her shoulder and it was like magic! She needs to see a specialist. A GP is very limited in knowledge about particular problems.
My daughter had injections into parts of her back where the nerve ending were spasming, and had pain relief for the first time in 4 years. She had been on every pain medication, including morphine.
I had injections following my car accident after two years of doctors and chiropracots and PT. The doctor injected my upper back and it helped, but what finally got me walking again was a chiropractor reccommended by a client. This doctor was with Chiropractic USA. They have a different way of looking at problems, and they fixed my son and I both. We had "mirroring" injuries, as we were turned towards/looking at each other when we were hit from behind at a stop.
For almost 3 years, I couldn't stand or sit for more than 5 minutes at a time.
Now I am almost in as good shape as a 40 year old (I'm 62) except for the knee. I also take Monavie religiously. I walk when I can, and push the pain threshhold, although I had that "If it hurts, stop!" argument with my mother. Only time she's ever been wrong!
There are many, many treatments out there, and you always have the option (without discrimination) to a second or third opinion.
I thank God that we didn;t have surgery and that we use natural treatments as much as possible.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:03 PM   #13
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I have Sketchers tone ups(not the shapers) I also have moderate arthritis in my right knee. I went to Orlando for a week back in Oct, I on the days I wore flip flops, I was fine, on the days I wore my tennis shoes, I had to use a will chair the next day because my knee was hurting so bad. So, in my opinion, no they are not good for people with arthritis.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:51 PM   #14
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I have toning shoes. They've helped me hold a better posture and now when I wear other shoes I maintain that posture. At first my lower back hurt super bad because it was a pretty drastic change from my slouching, but now that I'm used to it, I couldn't be happier. And the lower back pain I ALWAYS had to deal with is nearly gone.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:24 AM   #15
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I have reebok toners and they really hurt my weak knee. I got them thinking they would help it.
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