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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rocker Soled Shoes...You Know, the So-Called Butt Shapers?!

In my previous blog, I talked a little bit about the butt shaper shoes.  The most popular of these are the Skecher Shape Ups.  For those of you already wearing these shoes and are looking for more information on the benefits, or for those of you that are thinking of getting a pair, PLEASE DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!  More importantly, don't waste the health of your feet, legs, and back.  These shoes have absolutely no truth to what advertisers say they will do.  There are absolutely no clinical or peered reviewed studies that show these shoes shape your hamstrings or butt!  Millions and millions of dollars have been spent on advertising claiming that all you have to do is wear these shoes and you'll get the benefit of the equivalent of a good leg and hip workout.  In truth, these shoes turn off muscles in your legs and feet.  There is less muscle activation in the legs and feet.  Instead of having to propel yourself off the ground, you end up just rolling over the sole of your foot making you do less work.  They provide an unstable base of support that would normally be present for good posture and mechanics of the lower extremities and back!

So, what are these shoes good for?  Here's a list of what "rocker soled" shoes are good for:

  • Cerebral Palsy and muscle spasticity
  • People who have suffered strokes and have lost motor control in the legs and feet
  • People suffering from varied levels of Muscular Sclerosis
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Any illness that causes loss of motor function that affects a person's ability in which it limits normal walking or gait mechanics and requires the aide of a prosthesis or orthotic to help with clearing their toes off the floor when advancing their foot.

In other words, for a normal healthy person who is just too lazy to lift their own foot up so they don't scrape their toes on the ground, well then, a rocker soled shoe is just for this person!  Sorry to be so harsh but this is the plain truth about these shoes.  Rocker soled shoes are designed to use less energy and skip the use of specific muscles in the lower extremity below the knee.  Because the sole is rounded, it allows a person to "roll" over their foot.  Muscles responsible for performing this action are no longer needed or are used.  If you're interested in these muscles, then here's a list:

  • FLEXOR HALLUCIS & FLEXOR DIGITORUM: muscles that flex the toes
  • PERONEAL MUSCLES: muscles that flex and turn the foot outward

In other words, all the muscles involved with plantar fasciitis and tibialis posterior tendonitis.  The incidence of people coming into the clinic from Skecher Shape type shoes is becoming higher and higher for treatment of tibialis posterior tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

I really don't like getting into the political or legal aspects of things, but just 2 weeks prior to posting this topic, a class action law suit was finally filed against companies that manufacture rocker soled shoes.  The lawsuit is for the false claims being made regarding the "positive" effect that these shoes have on increasing "muscle tone" in the butt and legs.  In reality, these "positive" benefits or claims are actually the opposite!

I’m not sure that these are the best final words to leave you with, so, without going on and on about why it’s not a good idea to invest in these shoes, here’s the truth about rocker soled shoes:

  • ·      Rocker soled shoes are used for motor deficient individuals
  • ·      Muscles in the legs become inactive
  • ·      Rocker soled shoes do not increase or tone muscles in the legs and hips
  • ·      You may find yourself more comfortable for periods of time on your feet because you’re no longer doing the same amount of work to walk!

Happy Bipeding!

Brad Senska, PT, DPT,BS, ASTYM.