Why This Heel Pain Product Tanked on Shark Tank

Barbara Corcoran testing out the Solemender on Shark TankDid anyone else catch last week’s episode of Shark Tank? While everyone else may have been focusing on the appearance by Rob Gronkowski and his brothers (who were hawking a water bottle, of all things—click here if you want to watch the video) I was captivated by 17-year-old Ehan Kamet and his product, the Solemender.

Here’s what the Solemender does, in the words of its young inventor:

“SOLEMENDER® was invented at the age of twelve by Ehan Kamat.  After watching his mother roll a frozen toy on her foot to alleviate foot pain, he learned that the medical community often recommends freezing a water bottle and rolling the sole of the foot on it to treat foot pain such as plantar fasciitis.
Ehan, a lifelong idea guy, thought that a refreezable roller with a nonskid base would be a more effective, less messy alternative than a frozen water bottle. 
Ehan prototyped his invention at home then, with the assistance of his father went on to submit a patent on the SOLEMENDER® (pending).  The name SOLEMENDER® is derived from the first act of the play JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare where a cobbler claims to be “a mender of bad soles”.  The SOLEMENDER® is an exciting new way to treat plantar fasciitis pain. Ehan hopes that his idea will help relieve pain in millions of people suffering from this condition.”

Before I begin my critique, I have to join Sharks like Mark Cuban in commending such a young kid for getting such a big idea off the ground...but I have to take issue with the product.

The persistent heel pain of plantar fasciitis is very treatable, and, as Kamet points out, podiatrists usually start with non-invasive options before moving on to other treatments. But here’s the thing: the beauty of many of these non-invasive treatment options, like the frozen water bottle and other treatments like stretching exercises and changes in shoe-choice, is that they are 100% free. It’s always my advice to skip gimmicky treatment fads when you have sore feet and simply listen to your doctor. We will always try to steer you towards the option that will resolve your problem with the least amount of physical and financial pain.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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