My mind has been focused on feet lately.
For the most part we tend to ignore them until they cause trouble. We expect them to just perform- day in and day out- for years and years before we give any thought to their health or condition.
We put them in torturous shoes for the sake of fashion.
We pound them into the pavement in order to exercise the rest of our body.
Then one day they start protesting and we realize that our feet are one of the most important parts of our body. Just try walking without them!
I first became very aware of my feet when I was a young child. We had gone down to the river to fish and swim, and I walked into some murky water and stepped on a broken beer bottle. My parents quickly wrapped it with one of my brother’s diapers and rushed me to the doctor. I was on crutches and missed school for a week! Of course I tried to go to school. My dad found me hobbling down to the bus stop one morning and made me return to the house.
More injuries followed. I stepped on a nail. I got a piece of barbed wire stuck in my little toe and Dad removed it with the pliers. I stubbed toes and stepped on stickers. I sprained my ankles…often. I broke my toe. Eventually I would break four of them (two twice). And as an adult I’ve torn tendons and broken an ankle.
As a teenager and young adult I wore the fashionable shoes that led to more pain and problems. I wore high heels. I wore shoes with wooden soles. I wore shoes that were too tight. Shoes were never worn for comfort, but for appearance. For a college art project we had to create a self-portrait. I took a photo of about a dozen different pairs of shoes that I thought represented the different aspects of my life and personality. I got an A!
Perhaps I was trying to make up for the fact that my feet were never attractive. My grandfather routinely told me that my feet were ugly: my big toes were far too big and little toes too little. I’m not sure what point he was trying to make, but I was never comfortable letting anyone outside the family see my feet. I still won’t wear sandals in public. I’ve never had a pedicure.
My shoe choices are quite limited now. Because of the problems I’ve developed these past two years, I can no longer wear pretty shoes. I’m currently able to wear only two pairs of my regular shoes and I’m waiting for a new diagnosis before I graduate to orthopedic shoes. Believe me, appearance is no longer an issue. Comfort reigns supreme, and if I find a pair of shoes that feel good I’m buying them!
As usual, my purpose in writing this is to warn the rest of you. Think about what you are doing to your feet right now and know that they will eventually show you the results of neglect or abuse when you least expect it. Seriously consider the price you will pay for wearing some of the ridiculous shoe fashions- that are mostly designed by men. Also take a good look at the feet of other family members. My grandmother had serious foot problems. My mother had problems requiring foot surgery. One of my brothers has had numerous foot problems. Don’t ignore genetics.
If you are walking around today without foot pain, be thankful!