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MBT Footwear - FAQ's

How long should I wear my MBTs for at first?
MBT usage should be between ½ to 2 hours per day for the first week, and then gradually building up the time, until the MBT can be comfortably worn for over 2 hours, by which time muscle activation and proprioceptive feedback are sufficiently attuned to wear the MBT all day, every day. If applied as a medical or therapeutic tool, make sure you refer to a health specialist. The amount of time you are able to tolerate wearing the shoes will depend upon your initial level of fitness and health.

Can I wear MBTs every day?
After the period of time detailed above, the more you wear MBTs, the more your body will feel the benefits.

Can I run and jog in MBTs?

Yes, MBTs are perfect for jogging, as demonstrated in the video/DVD. MBTs are suitable for training but not for competitions. Always make sure that you are comfortable walking in them first, starting with the recommended time. MBT Academy recommends that you wear your MBTs for 12 weeks before you begin to use them for sport.

Can I do the following in my MBTs: squash, badminton, tennis and football?

MBTs replicate walking on an uneven surface; imagine playing squash etc on uneven ground. Therefore, it’s not suitable to wear MBTs for these specific sports or for agility sports in general. MBTs can be used when exercising with free-weights, step and aerobics. These activities should only be taken up once you are used to walking correctly in the MBTs and have reached a good fitness level (approximately 12 weeks).

5. Can they help me to lose weight?

Wearing MBTs activates the stretch reflex, thereby helping tone the postural muscles, increasing circulation. Wearing the MBTs during aerobic exercise will help you burn more calories, thus helping to lose weight and gain a more sculpted appearance.

6. Do they reduce cellulite?

MBTs were developed as a medical device. In the past few years we have learned about the toning effects. MBTs help to tone and firm the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks, thighs and calves and increase circulation. We have lots of positive customer feedback regarding cellulite reduction.

7. What does it mean if I feel numbness, pins and needles, or heat in my feet?

Because the MBT makes the foot muscles more active than in normal flat shoes, the muscles in the feet begin to work harder in rolling through the foot with each stride. This can lead to conditions of improved circulation and activation of the muscles in the calf and around the shin, which are mostly passive in normal walking. Sensations such as pins and needles, sweaty feet and numbness can occur initially and will subside after wearing the MBTs for a comfortable period.

8. Why do I get burning in my feet after wearing them?

The burning sensation experienced by certain individuals is due to increased blood flow to the intrinsic foot musculature. This should settle after a few weeks. In certain individuals it may persist for longer and can be an indication of impaired vascular, possibly due to conditions such as arteriosclerosis or diabetes. If persistent the individual is advised to contact their family physician that will be able to organise baseline investigations.

9. Why do my leg muscles ache after wearing MBTs?

The aching sensation experienced by some individuals, especially in the first few days of wearing MBTs, is a well recognised phenomenon in any individual undertaking a new exercise programme and is known as delayed onset muscle soreness. It normally settles after wearing MBTs for approximately 5 days.

10. What is the difference between the different styles of MBTs?

There is no difference. The technology is in the sole. The uppers of the MBT vary to suit the taste of our customers.

11. Is it difficult to use the lace lock on the sports styles of MBTs?

The lace lock is very effective, but customers that do not wish to use it can remove it. Please make sure that clients are shown how to use it correctly so that they have the choice whether to use it or not.

Refer to the following help guides:

• Instruction leaflet in the MBT box

• www.mbt-uk.com - product section

• Customer service line – 020 7684 4633

12. Can I wash them in the washing machine?

No, because the sole is made up of specialised technology that may break down under those severe conditions. You can hand-wash your MBTs with clear liquid hand soap. To dry them make sure that they are upside down, so that the water can drain away from the technology in the sole and Masai sensor.


13. Are there any other care instructions I need to be aware of?

The soft parts of the sole are sensitive to aggressive liquids containing salt, oil, manure, blood, etc. Wash and dry your MBTs as soon as possible, if they become muddy and dirty. Incorrect use can cause the Masai sensor to deteriorate and the layers to separate. The leather styles should be polished prior to wearing them and the suede/nubuck styles should be protected with a spray prior to wearing them to help prevent wear and tear.


1. Do MBTs help for medical conditions?

MBT is a sport and medical tool class 1 in the EU and several health insurance companies reimburse the cost of MBT. Leading sport medical and biomechanical institutes in the world back up the concept, and leading medical specialists recommend the application of MBTs for muscular skeletal problems such as:

• Back, hip, leg and foot problems; and

• Joint, muscle ligament and tendon injuries.

If MBTs are to be used as an accompanying therapy to specific health problems it is essential that a medical professional or therapist supervise.

2. Are they good for back problems?

Yes, they were designed specifically for the treatment of back pain, rehabilitation and for the prevention of injury. MBTs will help to improve posture and muscle activity of the leg and core muscles and therefore, help to take strain off the back.

3. Why do I get backache after wearing MBTs?

An individual walking in MBTs automatically attains a more upright posture rather than a forward leaning gait. This leads to an increased activation of the lumbo-sacral musculature due to the alteration of trunk angle relative to the pelvis when wearing MBTs. When muscles start to work harder they can be painful. This should normally resolve within a few days.

4. Can I wear them if I have flat feet?

Yes, MBTs activate the muscles in the feet, which therefore helps to rebuild fallen arches. It is very important that MBTs are used correctly to achieve this.

5. Are they good for arthritis?

We recommend MBTs for arthritis but a medical specialist should be consulted first. MBTs dynamically alter loading through the foot, ensuring that the load is distributed evenly through the foot from the moment of heel strike until the foot leaves the ground at toe off. This mimics walking barefoot. Conventional shoes concentrate loading through the heel and then through the forefoot, culminating in a push-off from the big toe potentially causing pain in those individuals with osteoarthritis affecting the big toe (a condition also known as hallux rigdus or bunions). Therefore patients who have arthritis in the big toe should benefit from wearing MBTs.

I have diabetes. Can I wear MBTs?

MBTs can be worn by individuals with both insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Wearing the MBT stimulates blood flow to all muscle groups in the legs. It is also a potent aid to proprioception, thereby stimulating the nerve supply to muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons in the lower limbs. This is of benefit and may help individuals who are prone to develop the neuro-vascular complications of Diabetes Mellitus.

Can I wear them with orthotics?

The MBT functions like an active orthotic rather than passive support. We do not recommend that that they are worn with orthotics, as this will stop the activation of the muscles in the feet. This is because the MBT is an active footwear device, which stimulates the intrinsic musculature of the foot and will over time help to re-establish the arches in the feet. MBTs also serve as a proprioceptive tool thereby enhancing ankle stabilising musculature. In some cases it is possible to combine MBTs with orthotics but this should only be done under the supervision of a specialist podiatrist or physiotherapist. It is possible to wear heel raises in MBTs if an individual has a true leg length discrepancy, (usually due to a congenital abnormality or due to a fracture of the femur or tibia).


You say that MBTs help varicose veins, yet I still have them.

A varicose vein is due to the failure of a valve, which prevents backflow in superficial venous aviculture. MBT usage cannot correct this mechanical venous malfunction. What MBT does is increase the blood flow in the deep calf veins, thereby minimising superficial venous return.

I have had a stroke, is it all right for me to wear MBT?

The aims of treatment after the acute phase of a stroke are to minimise impairments, disability and secondary complications with minimal adverse effects from treatment. To this end MBT may be beneficial. The MBT is a potent activator of vascular flow in the lower limb and has also been shown to have a significant impact on muscle activation in the gluteals, hamstrings and calf musculature. We know the MBT gives active proprioceptive feedback with every step taken. It should always be remembered, however, that MBT is fundamentally an unstable footwear device. With prolonged supervised usage it should aid rehabilitation but initially there may potentially be an increased risk of falls if used without supervision.

I am due to have knee/hip replacement surgery; can I wear MBTs?

Clinical studies at Calgary University and Sheffield Hallam University have demonstrated that MBTs reduce loading through the hip, knee and ankle. This may well reduce the pain in these joints due to osteoarthritis. MBTs also activate knee and ankle musculature and stimulate proprioceptive feedback around these joints. All of these factors may be beneficial. They will certainly be of benefit in the pre-operative period.


I have had a joint replacement. How soon after surgery can I start wearing my MBTs?

Provided the individual is already familiar with MBT they can be seen as a valuable tool in post-operative rehabilitation. It is advisable, however, that they are not worn until 6 - 8 weeks post-operatively as the potential risk of a fall in this period would dislodge the artificial joint. It is recommended that MBTs be used post-operatively in conjunction with supervision provided by a rehabilitation specialist such as a physiotherapist.


I have just had a heart attack. Is it OK for me to wear MBTs?

Cardiac rehabilitation improves coronary risk factors and reduces the risk of major cardiac events in people after myocardial infarction. MBTs may therefore be used as part of a cardiac rehabilitation programme. Together with education, medication and lifestyle modification as indicated.

Do MBTs help people who have multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. In Europe and North America it is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults with an age of onset between 20-40 years. It has a prevalence of 1 in 800 people. In 90% of affected individuals the disease process is relapsing and remitting in nature. Randomised clinical trials have demonstrated that outpatient rehabilitation reduced MS symptom frequency and fatigue. Clinical studies have failed to demonstrate the benefits of exercise on disease progression. MBTs may therefore, be worn by individuals who have MS as part of their normal rehabilitation programme. The MBT will aid proprioception and muscle function.

Do MBTs help people who have motor neurone disease?

As with multiple sclerosis MBTs may be used as part of active rehabilitation programme. The MBT will not alter the natural clinical progress of the disease but may well serve to assist maximal motor functioning during the disease process.

I have arthritis in the big toe. Will MBTs help me?

MBTs dynamically alter loading through the foot, ensuring that the load is distributed evenly from the moment of heel strike until the foot leaves the ground at toe off. This mimics walking barefoot. Conventional shoes concentrate loading through the heel and then through the forefoot, culminating in a push-off from the big toe potentially causing pain in those individuals with osteoarthritis affecting the big toe (a condition also known as hallux rigdus or bunions).

I have a difference in leg length and have to wear a heel raise. Can I put this in the MBT?

Yes heel raises for true leg length discrepancy may be worn with MBTs (most commonly this is due to a congenital abnormality or following a fracture to either the femur or tibia). If the leg length abnormality is due to muscle shortening or joint dysfunction caused by tendon or ligament dysfunction the individual should consult a musculo-skeletal specialist as the problem may be amenable to remedial treatment and heel raises may not be required.


I have poor blood supply to my legs. Will the MBTs help this?

Depending on the severity of the altered or abnormal vascular supply, MBTs may be an aid to improving peripheral circulation in the affected limb. It is important to realise, however, that as MBTs may increase muscle activation, initially the compromised circulation in the affected limb may lead to an increase in pain. This is due to an inadequate blood supply.

I get anterior knee pain can I wear MBTs?

We know that MBTs will reduce loading through the knee. We also know that walking in MBTs benefits the muscles acting around the knee. Specifically, MBTs cause a stretch of the hamstring muscles and also specifically cause activation of the quadriceps. These features assist the management of anterior knee pain. It is always advisable to contact a medically trained MBT specialist (doctor, physiotherapist, osteopath, podiatrist or chiropractor) for a definitive diagnosis.


I have had a DVT can I wear MBT?

MBTs should not be worn in the early stages following diagnosis of a deep vein thrombosis. This is because the increased muscle activation of the calf musculature may lead to the clot becoming dislodged and leading to a potentially fatal pulmonary embolus. Most individuals who have a DVT are put onto the drug Warfarin and once stabilised and told by their doctor to resume exercise, MBTs may be worn.

I have problems with recurrent ankle ligament sprains. Will MBTs help with my rehabilitation?

Yes definitely. In the UK alone there are 6,000 ankle ligament sprains per day. Approximately 30% of these individuals will have symptoms of pain, stiffness and recurrent sprains if not managed appropriately. The big benefit of MBT in rehab is the proprioceptive stimulus, which they provide. They are also potent activators of the ankle stabilising musculature. Many individuals who have ligament injuries are given ‘wobble boards’ to assist rehab. These are used for 20-45 minutes per day. In effect the MBT acts like a permanent wobble board due to its inherent instability and can comfortably be worn every day, thereby strengthening the ankle in the long run.

Will the MBT cure my sciatica?

Over 70% of people in developed countries will experience low back pain at sometime in their lives. It is most common between the ages of 35-55 years. Pain is non-specific in 85% of people. Sciatica, or pain that radiates down the back of the leg is a symptom of a problem usually stemming from the low back, therefore it is considered as a back problem. Symptoms, pathology and radiological appearances are poorly correlated. Acute low back pain is usually self-limiting and the majority of people will have recovered within 6 - 12 weeks. Activity speeds symptomatic recovery, reduces chronic disability and leads to less time off work than rest. MBTs also affect the angle of the trunk relative to the pelvis; this places the lower back to load optimally through the pelvis and hips, rather than the forward lean individuals have with conventional footwear. MBTs also affect the lumbo-sacral musculature, which also helps to strengthen the lower back and aid recovery. MBTs should be seen as a tool that may help to resolve the pain associated with the condition of sciatica. If back or leg pain persists, then an individual should see their doctor to rule out more serious conditions such as infection, tumour, fracture, inflammation, osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis.


Can I wear them if I am pregnant?

MBTs have great benefits before and after pregnancy. If MBTs have been worn prior to pregnancy, then they can continue to do be worn, as the body will have adapted to the changes. If they have not been worn before pregnancy, then we recommend waiting until after the birth. This is because the body is experiencing significant changes during pregnancy, so it is important to keep these to a minimum. An expectant mother under the supervision of a medically qualified women’s health specialist such as a physiotherapist or midwife wishing to start wearing MBTs, should consult their specialist as to whether MBTs would be recommended.


Are MBTs helpful for foot pain?

MBTs reduce the pressure in the heel and mid-foot and are therefore helpful for problems such as heel spur, plantarfasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and arthritis. MBTs also reduce the joint forces in the ankle thus taking strain off the foot-ankle complex.







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