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why misrepresent this product?

December 29 2000 at 7:29 PM
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Gary S  (no login)
from IP address 209.179.137.30

 
I told the salespersons at two different Good Feet stores that I wear prescription orthotics which have different angles of correction for each foot. They both said that customization would not be necessary if I wore the $210 Alzners*. I also visited a Birkenstock store recently and overheard a salesperson tell a customer (who had identified herself as an orthotic wearer) that the Birkenstock footbed would obviate the need for her prescription orthotic. I add the Birkenstock story to show that the Alzner people are not alone in misrepresenting their goods.

The Alzner orthotic is a neutral orthotic, which is enough for some people. People who have severe pronation or other problems often need posts added to the shell.

If posting is unnecessary on an Alzner, what are these ShoeMATE people doing - and how can they use the Alzner name in their add? http://www.shoematecanada.com/aboutus.html

The Alzner shell is a nice design, but for those of you who haven't worked around injection molding machines, let me assure you that the production cost is a few dollars tops (including labor). If it doesn't bother you to pay over 200 dollars for something that should retail for $20, go for it.

I also have problems with the hokey sale techniques, but I think it's just honest, enthusiastic ignorance most of the time.

My prescription orthotics cost $275.
I toured the production facility. These are some of the steps needed to make them:
(1) A negative mold of the bottom of the feet are made
(2) Plaster is poured into the molds
(3) Some material is added to the plaster "positives"
(4) A thermoplastic shell is placed over the inverted plaster "feet" and are heated in an oven until the shell takes the shape of the plaster pieces
(5) Once cooled, the shells are trimmed
(6) If prescribed, material is glued under the heel and sometimes the ball of the foot
(7) The added material is sanded or ground to the precribed angle.
(8) Padding layer(s) are glued to the top of the shell
(9) A final topcover is glued on
(10) If (free) adjustments are requested, some or all of these operations are repeated.

That's a lot of work by trained technicians (and I left out inspection steps and missed some others). Compare that to what is needed to mold a piece of EVA plastic:
(1) A molding machine
(2) A mold
(3) A machine operator (keeps material moving through machine, cleans away debris and stops it if there's a problem)

 
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AuthorReply
Ed Davis
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64.240.101.26

custom orthotics

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January 3 2001, 11:05 PM 

Gary,

You certainly did a good job pointing out the amount of labor that goes into making a custom orthotic. You were just looking at the lab work though. The process really starts when the podiatric physician performs a complete biomechanical exam, looking at the knees, leg ankle and relationships between the front part and rear of the foot. Joint ranges of motion are taken into account including any differences in leg length.
Gait analysis may be performed, that is, an analysis of how the patient walks.

The impression of the feet are made using casting material with the podiatrist manipulating the foot into correct alignment as the plaster dries.

The process, from prescription through fabrication is more expensive than the materials used.

I also dispense a lot of prefabricated orthotics im my practice for those patients who do not need a custom device. I probably modify more than 50% of the prefabricated orthotics before dispensation in order to somewhat "customize" them and enhance their effectiveness.

Most of the people selling Birkenstocks and Birkenstock orthotics whom I have had contact with are quite upfront and honest with their clients, though, every group can have a few "bad apples." The Alznner device is a decent pre-fab but seems to almost always be sold with a lot of hyperbole, hype and for a price far in excess of what I would consider reasonable for a pre-fab orthotic.

Regards,
Ed Davis, DPM

 
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Foot Pro
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63.25.249.241

re: custom orthotics

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January 5 2001, 8:13 PM 

I agree with you Ed. Most individuals don't realize the amount of time it takes to perfom a biomechanical exam, as well as cast the patient. An interesting thing happened to me today when I recieved a phone call from an Alznner Mall Associate requesting that I write a letter releasing them from any liability which may stem from them selling one of my patients a pair of Alznners. By the way, this patient has peripheral neuropathy, hammertoes, preulcerative calluses plantarly at the met heads. To me, it's kind of ironic that we as podiatrists will allow this type of business to occur. We are slowly leting this part of our profession slip away to physical therapists, shoe salesmen etc.... The next thing you will see is something like the f..tm..x device or the Amfit device in shoe stores. That way you can get a pair of new shoes and orthotics all in the same visit. I don't want to mention the companies name due to them coming after podiatrists for criticizng their product. Anyway, just my two cents.

 
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Anonymous
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64.240.101.26

custom orthotics

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January 8 2001, 9:34 AM 

You are so right concerning our scope of practice. It is difficult to convince the public that efforts to restrict "professional services" to professionals are not self-serving efforts.

My wife is an audiologist. She feels that the most important service she provides is testing peoples hearing to determine their needs, not "selling" hearing aids. Lay hearing aid dispensers (Miracle Ear,Beltone...) have been around a lot longer than Alznner salesmen. They generally provide "free" hearing exams, the conclusion of which is that the tested individual needs an expensive hearing aid which often is not properly customized to the patient's hearing loss and is provided via a hard sell.

Regards,
Ed

 
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Gary S
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209.178.130.182

Horrifically overpriced

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January 8 2001, 5:54 PM 

I agree with Ed, Pro, and Anon that having a professional examination and casting is invaluable.

Professionals are great, but do not undervalue the work of technicians. Custom orthotics are virtually handmade products. Alznners are one-piece, molded products that are made automatically by a machine. EVA is not an exotic material, rather it is a common plastic.

There is no justification for Alznners costing over 200 dollars.



 
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Rick
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209.240.220.149

Apparently, Alznner IS justified in charging $200.

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January 9 2001, 8:18 AM 

Look at this way, Gary: Alznner is in business. He's not "out" of business. How can that be?

Well, the easiest way to explain it is that Alznner is tapping a market that DOES feel justified in paying $200 for a pair of Alznners. Therefore, how can Alznner be UNjustified in charging $200?

This forum was started by me in response to my slight annoyance that I had to pay $400 for Alznners for me and my girlfriend. It seemed to me that the Alznner orthotics WERE indeed mass manufactured items that I COULD have paid a lot less for. I was also annoyed by some of the sales tactics. In the same breath, I must say that I was alerted to the solution by the Alznner infomercial and applaud Alznner for going ahead and capturing a market with that infomercial. It was a revelation to me and it solved my problem. I was willing to pay the $400 to solve what seemed to be an otherwise intractable problem.

The internet presents new opportunities for anyone to be more fully informed about anything. If I had used the internet search engines a few years ago to see what "my feet hurt" or "sore feet" or something similar would yield, I may not have gotten much. Today, I stand to gain a lot more. I think it's just a matter of time before the public has better access to better information about their sore, tired feet and the price of Alznners falls-- and everyone has "easier" access to professional podiatrists.

In the meantime, I think Alznner deserves credit for opening up a new area of marketing/problem solving, despite the annoying approach. I'll be testing search engines in the near future for the above keyword phrases to see what results I get. I really believe the internet and it's tools, like this forum, will be a critical component of helping people understand and solve all sorts of problems-- in the same manner this forum has allowed some of us to do.

I don't think solving foot problems can be separated from the internet anymore. Neither can solving any other problem. And I think that's my main point: I don't have a huge interest in solving foot problems-- I'm just a big internet fan and I saw that there was a problem regarding the price, marketing and scientific validation of Alznners. Thus, I theorized that using an internet forum like this could help me understand the problem more fully. My motive was to use the Alznner case as an example-- and a learning experience-- to see how a real-world problem of interest to many people-- could be 'ironed out' using internet tools.

So the final question is, in my mind, this: Is this forum helping anyone solve their problems of understanding and dealing with their foot pain? If it is, then that is a testiment to the validity of my theory that the internet can be used to solve a wide range of problems. The fact that is helped solve some peoples' understanding of foot problems, in particular, is a positive effect of my original intent.

What remains to be done now, in my view, is an "annual report" of some sort. This forum, I believe, has been up for over a year. As a moderator and initiator, I'd like to take this forum, review it and post an overview that allows the new visitor to glean important results in one quick reading rather than having to survey all the posts.

In conclusion for THIS post, I just want to beg to differ with you: Alznners, up to THIS point, and up to the Internet Era (starting around 1994), WERE justified in charging $200 because they provided a unique widely diseminated media experience about the problem many people had with their feet. Infomercials are not cheap. Sometime between 1994 and 2001, as the internet became more commonly used, a situation evolved in which the public and professionals could gather in forums, for the first time, from anyway, and discuss the merits of Alznners. As a result of the internet providing a more in-depth widely disseminated media experience, alas! with "feedback" loops, the public found it much easier to become more fully informed. The value of the Alznner informercial method fell, correspondingly, and correct and scientific information became much less expensive.

With the added participation of bona fide professionals in the public forums, excellent information became avaialable and with the improvement of search engines, the forum itself became instantly accessible to anyone who could come up with a relevent phrase, keyword or question. As a result, the price of Alznner will fall, the services of pros will become more appreciated and the overall picture will greatly improve... all due to the power of the internet!

 
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MICKEY BOGGS
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205.188.200.38

WHERE DO WE FIND THEM WITH THE BEST PRICE

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February 3 2001, 6:09 PM 

I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO KNOW IF THEY WORK. I HAVE HAD SURGERY FOR PLANTAR FACSITIS AND HAVE HAD NO RELIEF. i CAN'T STAND OR WALK MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES BECAUSE OF THE SEVERE PAIN. I'VE HAD MASSAGES, STEROID INJECTIONS THAT LAST LESS THAN 24 HOURS AND VARIOUS MEDS INCLUDING CELEBREX, VIOXX. INDOCIN, MOTRIN- NOTHING HELPS. I WEAR TWO PAIRS OF HEAVY SOCKS ROUND THE CLOCK. I HAVE RUN THE GAMUT OF FOOT DOCTORS, NEUROLOGISTS AND GP'S. I AM ALSO WEARING ORTHOTIC INSERTS. CAN ANYONE PLEASE HELP ME?

 
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Mary Day
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199.227.20.173

Does it Work??

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February 17 2001, 4:19 AM 

Checking out this web site after seeing a commercial
today on TV advertising this product for $59.00 at the Delray Beach, Florida store. Sounds good and wanted to research it for myself before buying. As still confused after reading all of the comments here.

 
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Kathleen Yorke
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209.240.220.165

do they work---sometimes

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June 25 2001, 10:10 AM 

I worked for a short time at the store in Delray. These supports do work for some but not recommended for others such as diabetics. //they do have a risk free 30 day return policy. The only thing I didn't like was being a salesperson there. A lot of people want these but cannot afford them. I tried out the product for a week & my feet never felt better, unfortuately I still cannot afford them. I am considering trying the Phase 4's because they look identical to the "Barefoot" by Alznner.

 
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MERIDITH
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64.12.104.27

RESPONSE TO PERSON WHO WORKED IN DELRAY BEACH STORE

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June 26 2001, 11:44 AM 

HI! I LIVE IN DELRAY AND HAVE A CHRONIC CASE OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. THIS IS CAUSING ME GREAT PAIN IN BOTH FEET..BASICALLY, I CANT WALK. I WAS TOLD TO TRY ORTHOTICS, ANS SAW THE COMMERCIAL FOR THE GOOD FEET STORE. ARE THESE THE SAME AS ORTHOTICS FROM A PLACE LIKE WAYNE ROSEN? ARE THE ALZNERS BETTER THAN ORTHOTICS? WILL IT HELP ME? WHAT IF I WEAR THEM AND HATE THEM AFTER 2 WEEKS? DO THEY TAKE THEM BACK? THEY ARE $295 !!! ARE THEY WORTH IT? PLEASE WRITE BACK TO MY E-MAIL ADDRESS! THANX!!!

 
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Mary
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205.188.193.21

Worked for me

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August 2 2001, 8:54 PM 

I too have rheumatoid arthritis in my feet. I had used
Orthotics prescribed by the Orthopedic Doctor which were custom made for my one foot. It worked and helped for awhile...then the pain came back and I kept having to use different height additions etc to be comfortable.....so I just happened to see the demo when in Branson, Mo. and tried them on...they felt great....so about six months later at the Good Foot Store in Tucson...I bot a pair...and its been fantastic...they've really worked well for me. Have much more movement in my ankle....give them a try!

 
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Dr Susan Hunt
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205.188.200.24

Alznner Orthotics Do Wonders

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March 24 2001, 9:53 AM 

I'm a chiropractor and I've been prescribing Sole Soother Orthotics (the medical version of the Alznner Orthotic)to my patients with remarkable success. I highly recommend them. The Good Feet Store sells them for $239.95/pair, but most practitioners sell them for $219.95/pair. It's a drop in the bucket when you consider they will last 10+ years and it resolves most health problems related to the feet.

If you cannot find a doctor that carries the Sole Soother Orthotic, please contact me at 678-571-0502 and I will help you.


 
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Ed Davis, DPM
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64.240.101.26

wonders

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March 26 2001, 10:37 PM 

Dear Dr. Hunt:

There are literally hundreds of medical conditions that can affect the feet---from diabetes to gout, nerve problems, skin diseases, osteoporosis, circulatory problems...on and on. With all due respect to your knowledge and credentials, how can you make the claim that a prefabricated arch support can "resolve most health problems related to the feet?"

I use orthotics, both prefabricated and custom. Both have specific uses and indications but are far from cure alls. I have looked at many pre-fabricated devices in order to find the best ones to recommend. Unfortunately, after searching the web and asking several friends who are chiropractic physicians, I cannot find a "Sole Soother" orthotic. I have seen the Alznner devices. I would appreciate your listing of the manufacturer or source of these devices along with any pertinent information. Thank you.
Regards,
Ed Davis, DPM eddavisdpm@hotmail.com

 
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Warren Hildebrand
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24.221.46.81

It works for me

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April 6 2001, 8:39 AM 

The Alznner support has worked for me. My toes were pressed together, and I had hammer toes. My feet hurt and walking any distance was a pain. It took a while for my feet to adjust to the new supports, as the sales people told me they would. But after 6 months I noticed my toes were seperating and the calluses caused by hammer toes were becoming less. I had a 'funny' walk like a pivot on one foot. This caused the soles of my shoes to wear out real quick. I noticed that the soles of my shoes were wearing uneven to the sides of the shoe. Since using the alznner supports my shoes are wearing a lot more even and lasting a lot longer, and I don't have the pain in my feet I used to have. My supports cost me $150.00, they also make a model called the "barefoot" which sells for around $50.00 to $60.00. This one is warrenteed for 1 year. But I'm sure would last a lot longer. I don't know about anyone else but It works for me.

 
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Mary
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205.188.193.21

Question about the Sole Soothern Orthotics

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August 2 2001, 8:58 PM 

Explain to me, please, how the sole soother orthotic is different that thr regular...I've not seen it.

Thanks!

 
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Ken Ross
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207.177.74.204

response for help

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April 12 2001, 9:16 PM 

My wife had plantar fasciitis and has basically cured it using various stretching and other techniques. If you would like, send your email to us and she will tell you what she did.

 
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L. E. Quinn
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206.170.4.68

Response for help by Ken Rross

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May 26 2001, 2:13 PM 

What are the exercises your wife has found helpful? I have had the problem for one year and one month. Somedays are better than others but when I get out of bed, either during the night or in the morning, the first step is a killer. It is in my left heel. Any exercises or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thank you.
P.S. I have tried a number of foot inserts, heel inserts and different types of shoes, including Birkenstocks.

 
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Carol Dougherty
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24.167.77.230

Possible help

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May 28 2001, 8:10 AM 

I had this problem too and the Podiatrist that I went to had me sleep in a type of boot that resembled a ski boot. Obviously the boot was awkward to sleep in, but it cured the problem rather quickly. He explained to me that by sleeping in this boot, your foot would remained stretched when you were relaxed and you wouldn't in essence be "reopening" the same woud daily and that it would have a chance to heal itself. The re-stretching every day is what continues the pain. THis is a very simple explanation by a lay person, but it worked for me and I hope it helps you too.

Carol

 
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MG
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63.207.129.20

response for help (plantar fasciitis)

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July 7 2001, 6:28 AM 

No medical back up for my method, but after a few months of rollerblading 3-4 times a week, my plantar fasciitis disappeared. The gripping that your toes do in the skate is similar to the exercises gripping a towel I was told to do. I'm not skating any more, but the problem has not returned.

 
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Ed Davis, DPM
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64.240.101.26

exercises for plantar fasciitis

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July 9 2001, 12:12 PM 

You are absolutely correct. Use of inline skates, including ice skates allows strengthening of the muscles which support the arch. Stronger arch muscles relieve the load from the plantar fascia.

 
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