Putting On My Dancing Shoes, Or How Ugly Shoes Are Saving My Life

I’ve barely been able to walk for the past three weeks, and if you thought moving house was difficult, try doing it with a bum foot.

In one of those weird twists of fate, about a week before we moved my left foot starting hurting. I first noticed it when I walked the dogs one morning, just a little twinge on the anterior instep. With all the hauling and stair-climbing, it got worse and worse until I finally decided it would be smart to have it professionally evaluated.

“I think you may have a little stress fracture,” the PA at urgent care told me. She provided me with one of those handy-dandy black booties, and sent me on my way with a referral to an ortho.

We moved that weekend (more hauling and lots of stair climbing), and by Monday my foot was absolutely killing me. I was literally crying with pain. I scheduled myself in with the ortho, and was surprised to hear that my problems were not related to a fracture at all.

“Your big toe is malformed,” he told me. “It’s probably because of your flat feet, but you’ve got a lot of arthritis in there and bone spurs all over your foot.”

This was all news to me. I didn’t even know I had flat feet.

The medical name for this condition is called Hallux Rigidus, a condition where the big toe (hallux) doesn’t flex properly when you walk, leading to development of arthritis, bone spurs, and pain with walking.

Lots of it.

He injected cortisone into the area (which did absolutely nothing), gave me a prescription for pain pills, pain cream, and advised me to get some shoes specially designed for the condition.

Well, this all coincided with my grandson’s first visit to Michigan, so I was a little pre-occupied. I continued limping along (literally) and suffering, dragging behind everybody everywhere we went with my halting baby-sized steps.

Yesterday I decided it was time to shop for new shoes – especially since I couldn’t even get any of my old shoes on. So I did some internet research and determined which shoes were recommended for this condition. Then I drove out to Hershey Shoes where I spent a weeks wages on two pair of shoes.

I started wearing them. All the time.

My kind-of-ugly-but-truly-miraculous shoes

And lo, miracle of miracles, the pain and swelling has started to diminish. It still hurts a bit, but as long as I’m wearing those shoes I can walk at almost a normal gait and speed.

The trick is I have to wear the shoes ALL THE TIME. My inner hillbilly -the one who kicks of her shoes the minute she gets inside the house -is not happy.

But the woman who needs to walk her dogs twice a day and go up and down flights of stairs multiple times of day and who would love love love to do a Walk At Home exercise session with Leslie Sansone – well, she’s grudgingly accepted the fact that The Ugly Shoes are a necessary evil.

So, thanks Orthaheel and New Balance for giving me hope that I might walk normally again.

Who knew that a pair of shoes could be such life savers?


10 thoughts on “Putting On My Dancing Shoes, Or How Ugly Shoes Are Saving My Life

  1. I think they are kinda cute! Sorry you are having such foot problems- as one who is on her feet most of the time, I feel your pain- literally! Gotta put OTC orthotics in every shoe I wear, and always wear shoes or at least slippers with good soles. I wore flipflops too much this past summer, and my feet are telling me not to do that again. dang you, cute shoes…..

  2. Sorry to here of your problem. When my feet hurt, I’m not happy. But those shoes are not bad looking and do look comfortable. Hope you’re all better soon.

  3. Very glad you found some shoes that could help, nothing is worse than painful feet, it just affects everything you do. I have had quite a few stress fractures and have the “flat shoes” to wear whenever I start feeling the pain in the top of the foot, such a drag.

    Take care of your feet and yourself.

  4. My poor aunt has been dealing with foot pain for well over a year – although hers arrived compliments of her son-in-law, who ran over her foot with the car. Still, it’s been amazing to track her recovery and realize how important our feet are to us! Like arthritis in fingers or carpal tunnel syndrome, foot problems generally aren’t lethal, but they surely can diminish our quality of life! I’m glad you’re on the way to “kicking up your heels”!

  5. How awful. I gave up attractive shoes years ago. On my last visit to my doctor, I noticed she and I were wearing the same shoes. When I pointed it out, she said, “I always tell them to bring me the ugliest shoes in the store.” I laughed because that’s exactly what I do. Ugly is better than painful any day of the week. I hope your new shoes make it all better.

  6. Becca, I’m glad you’ve found relief. (And also curious what shoes you got and where Hershey’s is.) I have terrible feet — heel spurs, flat feet and all that. It’s quite a bit more bearable with my orthotics — I call the pedorthist the foot goddess! But I think I’ll never wear girly shoes again and that makes me the weeist bit sad. I’ve been this way for rather awhile and I should be used to it but one does what one must! I’m awfully glad you are having found an effective remedy. (As for those shoes, think how they will be pennies per wear!)

    • I also have hallux rigidus in mostly my right foot..have it for the past 25 years: but new to me is the heel pain…found orthaheel on qvc, and their website,and bought some cute clogs, and ordered the inserts, and can’t wait to try both..also ordered some slippers to wear at home all the time…did research, and the reviews on them are really good…the inserts can be placed in all sneakers, and I guess shoes, so you don’t have to buy ugly shoes..just the inserts which cost around 35.00.

  7. I am interested in the new balance shoes you have also…I bought some orthaheel inserts: waiting to get them to put in all my running shoes…I read that they work better if you take the inserts out of the sneakers first, then put inserts in….never thought of this, but I took the inserts out of sneakers, and my feet feel better already…can’t wait to try the specialized orthaheel inserts.

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