Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Exercise Your Feet

At least now and again you exercise other body parts--your arms, your legs, your abs--to strengthen them. What have you done for your feet lately? Even walking, while healthful, exerts a pressure of more than 125,000 pounds per mile per foot for a 120-pound person, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. No wonder those dogs are barking! Aging can bring on aches and pains, but don't let them sideline your workout. In fact, staying active is one of the best ways to lubricate joints and ultimately ease stiffness.

Here are some exercises experts recommend to relieve achy feet and help prevent or heal from injuries:

To relieve toe cramps and strengthen calf muscles
While standing, raise your toes. Hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 times. Curl your toes. Hold and repeat. Point your toes. Hold and repeat.

To relieve foot cramps or arch pain
Massage the bottom of your foot by rolling a small ball under the ball of your foot for about two minutes.

To strengthen arches, relieve toe cramps, ease pain in the ball of your foot
Place a small towel on the floor just in front of your bare foot. Without moving your heel off the floor, try to grasp the towel using only your toes. Repeat five times.

To speed recovery from plantar fasciitis, common cause of heel pain
Sit in a chair barefoot, with ankle of the affected foot on opposite knee. Using the same hand as the affected foot, grab the toes. Flex the ankle forward and pull toes toward shin. Hold the stretch for a count of 10, then relax. Repeat 10 times. Perform the sequence at least three times a day.

Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Scroll to the bottom of the page to view our medical disclaimer.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions about Z-CoiL® Footwear

Below is a quick list of commonly asked questions about Z-CoiL® footwear. If you have additional questions, please ask!

What types of painful conditions may be alleviated by wearing Z-CoiL® footwear?
Z-CoiL®-wearers have reported significant relief from the pain associated with many medically-diagnosed conditions, including:

  • Heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsal pain
  • Lower back pain and sciatica
  • Arthritis and other common joint pains

Will Z-CoiL® footwear help me jump higher?
No, but you will land softer.

How soon before I can expect results?
The relief our customers experience may be immediate, or may occur gradually, over days or even weeks. Some people enjoy complete relief from pain when wearing their Z-CoiL® shoes; others achieve only partial relief, though they may be able to reduce the amount of pain medication they take.

Is Z-CoiL® footwear stable?
Many customers report that they actually feel more stable in their Z-CoiL® footwear than in regular shoes. The coil in the heel is cone-shaped, and so it compresses straight down, following the line of least resistance rather than tipping. The flexible coil also absorbs some surface deviations to protect the ankle.

Does it take a long time to get used to wearing Z-CoiL® footwear?
Most people get used to wearing the footwear right away. Others may take several hours or even a couple of days to adjust to the extraordinary feeling of the shoes. If this is the case, we suggest you wear your Z-CoiL® shoes for a few hours each day at first, and gradually increase that time until you feel more comfortable in them.

It is also normal to experience some soreness in your legs during the first few weeks of wearing Z-CoiL® shoes, due to the increased mobility they provide. If you continue to experience pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, or back while wearing your Z-CoiL® footwear, however, you should take them off and return to your Z-CoiL® distributor for a footwear adjustment.

Can objects get caught in the open coil?
Small rocks or loose materials may occasionally get caught in the coil, but they should be easy to remove with a simple shake. We do recommend caution around cords, wires, hoses, and chairs with rungs, which may catch in the coil.

Can I drive wearing Z-CoiL® footwear?
Yes, but be careful not to let the floor mat or pedals catch on the coil. Also be aware that the shoes’ thick cushioning may reduce your “feel” for the pedals. You may need to move your seat back an inch or so to compensate for the thickness of the forefoot cushioning. If you feel unsafe driving in your Z-CoiL® footwear, wear other shoes.

Can I use my Z-CoiL® footwear to play sports?
Our customers have reported using their Z-CoiL® shoes for walking, running, hiking, golf, and more, although we do not recommend them for sports that involve significant lateral movement, like tennis. You need to be the judge of how Z-CoiL® products will work for you. Many people have been able to become more active and get back in the game because of their Z-CoiL® footwear.

Can I use custom orthotics with them?
You certainly can. In fact, Z-CoiL® footwear makes an ideal footbed for custom orthotics. Skilled Z-CoiL® fitters will ensure that your prescription orthoses fit in your shoes properly. Your prescribing healthcare professional may even be able to work with the Z-CoiL® fitter to further enhance the performance of your orthotics.

Aren’t Z-CoiL® shoes considered high heels?
Not at all. The Z-CoiL® heel, when uncompressed, is only about 1/2 of an inch higher than the cushioned forefoot. When the coil compresses, an average distance of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, the heel is level or just slightly higher than the forefoot. This minimal heel rise is beneficial to most people, helping them achieve a healthier, more erect standing posture. In the rare event that this is not the case, the coils can be adjusted to a lower effective heel height.

How long will my Z-CoiL® shoes last?
The steel coils can last a lifetime, though the rubber heel pad will probably last between six months and two years with normal use. People who put their Z-CoiL® footwear to hard use may wear through the pad in three months, while those who go easy on their footwear have been known to wear them for several years. Fortunately, even if the heel pad does wear out, there’s no need to buy a new pair of shoes. The coil/heel pad assembly can easily be replaced by a Z-CoiL® distributor at a minimal cost.

By comparison, most running or comfort shoes with EVA or gel-based soles have a life of 200 miles or 3 months, at which time their cushioning is reduced by 50%.

Some of your shoes have optional foam heel covers; why don’t you cover up the coils on all your styles?
We do make an Enclosed Heel System™(ECS) that is optional with our Z-Duty Work Boot and Z-Walker styles. The ECS is designed to address workplace safety concerns, in environments where objects are more likely to get caught in an open coil. The molded foam material that encases the coil slows the speed at which the coil compresses, which dampens its shock-absorbing capabilities to some degree, although a stiffer coil also proves useful when a person is picking up heavy objects.

At first, many people are taken aback by the appearance of our shoes, yet those who put them on and experience incredible relief from pain soon see them in a different light!

Can I order Z-CoiL® footwear over the Internet or by phone? There is no Z-CoiL® store near me.
Z-CoiL® footwear is sold only through stores by authorized Z-CoiL® distributors trained in our custom-fitting process. We believe that a personalized fit is essential for maximizing the amazing pain relief benefits of our shoes. If there is no store near where you live, you may find one the next time you’re traveling. New Z-CoiL® stores are springing up all over, too; be sure to check the Store Locator on this website periodically for new locations opening in your area.

Where are Z-CoiL® shoes manufactured?
Z-CoiL footwear is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the products are designed and engineered. Our products are manufactured in South Korea. Al Gallegos had tried for years to find a U.S. shoe manufacturer willing to produce his unusual shoes, but they all laughed at his idea and turned him down. At last he found a willing partner in South Korea who had 20 years of experience, which included making products for Nike® and Reebok®.

Will my insurance cover some of the cost of Z-CoiL® shoes?
Because Z-CoiL® footwear is designed for pain relief and incorporates a medical-grade orthotic, you may be able to get a prescription for the footwear from your doctor and receive some level of reimbursement from your insurance company. Check your health plan to see whether your insurance covers prescription orthotics. Some employers also have safety or workplace shoe reimbursement programs. Check with your HR Department. Some Z-CoiL® distributors accept Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cards with your doctor’s prescription. You can then use your doctor’s prescription and store receipt as justification for the medical expense.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Z-CoiL Founder Spotlight - Al's Run for the Senate!

You're probably aware that Al Gallegos has long been an avid runner, and that he invented special shoes designed to help reduce the pain and injuries that plagued him as a result.

What you may not have known is that Al has also run in two major political races! True to his nature, Al wanted to help improve the lives of people in his New Mexico community, so he ran for a state senate seat in 1972 and again in 1976. Though he didn't win, he continued to stay active in many civic and community organizations.

"I wanted to get into politics because I thought I had some good ideas about ways to help people, but I think I'm reaching more people with the footwear," Al says, looking back. "I think we are on the leading edge of something that can change a lot of lives."

Please click here to read a full article recently posted in Farmington, New Mexico's Daily Times newspaper.

Friday, December 5, 2008

NMHU Ergonomic Study on Z-CoiL

This is a video of an ergonomic study conducted by Wayne Scheler at New Mexico Highlands University. The study centers around Ergonomic Implimentation to reduce Plantar Pressure.

Thanks Wayne, and great job!

Top ten tips for a proper shoe fit

In continuing with the conversation yesterday, here are the top 10 tips for getting a proper shoe fit provided by The National Institute of Health.

  1. The size of your feet changes as you grow older so always have your feet measured before buying shoes. The best time to measure your feet is at the end of the day when your feet are largest.
  2. Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other, so fit your shoe to your larger foot.
  3. Don't select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe but by how the shoe fits your foot.
  4. Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer, and less damaging than high-heeled shoes. Women should not wear a shoe with a heel higher than 2 1/4 inches.
  5. During the fitting process, make sure there is enough space (3/8" to 1/2") for your longest toe at the end of each shoe when you are standing up.
  6. Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe.
  7. Don't buy shoes that feel too tight and expect them to stretch to fit.
  8. Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slipping - the shoes should not ride up and down on your heel when you walk.
  9. Walk in the shoes to make sure they fit and feel right. Then take them home and spend some time walking on carpet to make sure the fit is a good one.
  10. The upper part of the shoes should be made of a soft, flexible material to match the shape of your foot. Shoes made of leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritations. Soles should provide solid footing and not be slippery. Thick soles cushion your feet when walking on hard surfaces.

Our goal here at Z-CoiL is to provide the maximum amount of pain relief that our shoes can offer our customers. As mentioned yesterday, when Z-CoiL® shoes are properly fitted, they can provide substantial, if not complete, pain relief for many conditions affecting the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Perfect Fit – Custom shoe fitting from Z-CoiL

More than 43.1 million Americans—one in every six persons—have trouble with their feet, mostly from improperly fitting shoes. We’re all susceptible to foot and ankle injuries, but we can reduce our risk by wearing properly-fitting shoes that conform to the natural shape of our feet.

Every customer interaction at a Z-CoiL® store begins with a proper shoe fitting (be sure to give yourself ample time). In addition, trained and authorized Z-CoiL® distributors are able to adjust our footwear in many ways to accommodate your special needs. When Z-CoiL® shoes are properly fitted, they can provide substantial, if not complete, pain relief for many conditions affecting the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Below is a general walkthrough of our fitting process:

Selecting the Appropriate Shoe
We will explain the design of the shoe, help you select the footwear that is most appropriate for your activities, and make sure the shoe is sized properly. Then you will be asked to spend about five minutes walking around the store to experience the “feel” of this unique footwear.

While you are walking, we will check your toe room, arch support, heel fit, and shoe width. We will also ask you to be specific about the pain you are experiencing so that we can focus on those issues.

Making Adjustments
Unlike most footwear on the market, Z-CoiL® shoes are adjustable. Once we examine the shape of your foot and the way you walk, we can make a variety of footwear adjustments to provide the maximum support and comfort possible—all while you wait.

We can adjust for flat feet, high arches, wide feet, bunions and corns, hammertoes, heel spurs, neuromas, and many other conditions that can be responsible for foot pain. We can also balance the shoes if you tend to over-pronate (feet roll in) or over-supinate (feet roll out).

If you are experiencing joint pain, you may have developed a pattern of walking that is putting too much pressure on the affected joint. In many cases, we can make adjustments to the footwear to relieve pressure on the joint.

Continuing Customer Care
Many of our stores maintain a “Fitting Card” for each customer that documents the adjustments made to their footwear. If they ever need to come in for an adjustment, the store has their fitting history on file.

As a valued Z-CoiL® customer, you will receive FREE fitting adjustments from any participating Z-CoiL® distributor throughout the country, for as long as you own your footwear.