Nothing makes me feel old faster than sore, aching feet. Well, perhaps a sore, aching back could do the trick, but this is a foot post. So back-aches are just going to have to wait for their moment in the blogverse. There is something about a sore foot that seems to emphasize every minute of the 44 middle-age years I carry around with me. I don’t want to exercise, because my foot hurts. I don’t want to walk around to take pictures, because my foot hurts. I don’t want to clean the house because my foot hurts. I don’t want to clean the hamster cage because … Well, truthfully, I don’t want to clean the hamster cage because it’s not a fun chore. But, you get the picture. When your foot hurts, it feels as if the universe is against you.
I’ve been lucky in my lifetime. I haven’t experienced much foot pain. I’ve never broken a toe or pulled a muscle or twisted my ankle. I’ve, literally, skipped through life in the golden haze of happiness that comes from not knowing excruciating foot pain exists. I have been naive and silly — a naive, silly, footloose and fancy free sort of person.
Until now. About three months ago, my right foot started aching. It wasn’t much at first — just a dull sort of ache that would feel better each morning after I had rested my foot overnight. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I figured I had overexerted or something, and that things would feel much better in a day or two.
Except … Things didn’t feel better in a day or two. They got steadily worse. The pain grew and grew until it felt like I was walking on a flat pebble, or like someone had slipped a quarter into my shoe without me knowing about it. The pebble-pain began to radiate out to my second and third toes, and the top of my foot became so sore that I could hardly bear even having my very soft, wool-lined slippers against it. Then, because I was walking funny in order to favor my sore foot, my right hip began to hurt, too. It got to where I couldn’t even sleep on my right side because it was too painful. And sitting hurt, too.
I soldiered on, though. I come from tough and stubborn people. This is not always a good thing. After three months of watching me limp around, my husband decided he had suffered enough. He made an appointment for me with his podiatrist. And then, knowing all about my doctor phobia and how I would find some way to wiggle out of going to the appointment, he accompanied me to the doctor’s office. And even into the examination room. My husband knows me oh-so-well. And he loves me, anyhow, which I think is fantastic. Seriously … it still shocks me to realize this.
After x-rays and a cursory examination, which consisted of the doctor touching my sore foot and me yelping in pain and trying to jump off the exam table, it turns out my feet are deformed. Yep, you read that correctly: deformed. My big toe is, apparently, too long, which puts too much stress and strain on my second toe. My second toe is unhappy about having to do all this extra work, and so it fights back with swollen joints and an incredibly sore foot.
“How did this happen?” I asked the doctor. “And what can I do to make it go away?”
“It’s genetic,” she replied, shrugging. “It’s never going to go away.”
I’m not sure what bothers me the most about this situation: finding out (at age 44) that my feet are deformed and have been my whole life … realizing I’ve skipped and hopped through my entire life on deformed feet without knowing, which makes me feel somewhat stupid … or knowing there’s a good chance this pain is never going to go away completely. I do know, though, that middle age sucks.
Here’s the worst part of it all: I have to buy all new shoes. Any women reading this will understand the horror of this statement. All new shoes. No more pretty heels or cute sandals or flip-flops. No more buying whatever shoes I want off the rack. Nope. Now, I have to have certain brands of shoes that have the correct kind of support for my poor, aching, overworked, DEFORMED foot. This includes running shoes. Apparently, the brand of running shoes I’ve worn for years basically has no support.
And so, today, my husband took me shoe shopping. It wasn’t super fun, as selection is limited among the brands I can now wear. But, it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. I did find shoes I liked that had enough support and felt comfortable on my feet. Running shoes, dressy dress shoes with a little heel, casual-dressy shoes that can go with skirts, slacks, or jeans. Overall, it was a successful — and expensive! — day. About $1000 later, I walked out with several pairs of shoes so that I can start building up my shoe collection again from scratch.
I wore the running shoes out of the store. We walked all around the District, and my foot didn’t hurt at all. But I think I heard my wallet crying.