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Many of you liked last week’s blog, Talented and Expensive Feet. I’m not sure whether it was because I kicked off a conversation about foot problems, or I included a story from my friend, the madam. While we can do without titilating sex stories (another time), we can’t escape our aching feet. This makes me think of Nora Ephron’s book, “I Feel Sad About My Neck,” except in addition to my turkey neck, I feel sad about my feet.

Forgive me, dear feet! I’ve been so unkind. For most of my life I’ve taken you for granted.

If you have foot problems then you know unhappy feet are experts at creating a domino effect: problems with knees, gait, hips and back and the way you carry yourself. Foot problems even affect the way you hold your neck and shoulders, get out of a chair, the kind of chair you sit in and how you walk across the room. And as a Facebook friend, Janice Trayes, reminded me, one of the most debilitating side effects of bad feet is that we’re not as active, which affects both our mental and physical health.

If your feet hurt—in any way—find the best podiatrist in your area and make an appointment… TODAY!

I was 36 when I first had foot problems. When I walked it felt like a knife blade had pierced the bottom of my long, narrow feet. My first husband had lung cancer and was a frequent patient at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where he died. The bottom of my feet were so painful, it was nearly impossible to walk those huge, hospital complexes unless I was wearing ugly, thick-soled orthopedic shoes. Three days after he died, I made an appointment with a podiatrist who made custom inserts for me.

At some point the pain stopped and I returned to my sexy, high heels until I ordered a pair of custom, caramel suede, cowboy boots in Santa Fe. Because the arch was made too high, it rubbed a blood clot–the size of a shooter marble–on the bottom of my right foot. Surgery to remove it screwed up the nerves, creating a permanent pain. For a few years I hobbled in and out of church and “sit and sip” events, wearing high heels but the last few years, my sexy shoes have gathered dust in the back of my closet.

Did you know we lose the fat pads on the bottom of our feet as we age? Also the bones in our feet account for one quarter of the bones in our body. Together with how we mistreat them, no wonder our feet, knees and back hurts.

After James died, I found a great podiatrist who made me custom inserts, and I’ve worn them to pieces. Recently he made new plaster molds of my foot and my new inserts will be here soon. While I can’t wear them with sandals or high heels, it’s a moot point because provided I wear sensible shoes, I can walk pain free, most of the time. What do I mean by sensible shoes?

  • Flats with built-in arch support and/or rubber soles that cushion your steps.
  • Boots or shoes that don’t elevate the heel of your foot very much, if at all. Even kitten heels can hurt some feet. If I wear espadrilles or boots, they can’t have wedge soles. They need to be flat or the soles need to be the same width from front to back so my foot is parallel to the ground.
  • Shoes with a wide toe box so your feet don’t develop hammertoes, bunions and corns or destabilize your toes, which causes pain.
  • Flip flops and most sandals don’t provide the support our feet need and may actually cause foot problems.

Here are some of my favorite foot friendly shoe sources. This first group has some styles narrow enough to fit my 6A heels. You’ll notice I didn’t say inexpensive… In putting this list together, I learned one of my favorites, Arthur Beren, has gone out of business. Their catalogs were my go-to. Now I’m really sad about my feet.

These are comfortable brands I’m aware of, but since they don’t carry narrow widths, I’ve never bought from them.

  • Doc Marten In the comment’s section of last week’s blog, Noreen suggested Doc Marten’s with custom inserts… I’ve never worn Doc Marten’s but I give thumbs/toes up for custom inserts.
  • Skechers
  • Naturalizer

We don’t need to be a slave to fashion, or our feet, to be stylish! Dr. Barbara Bergin will be posting another blog about shoes and feet this weekend! If you haven’t read her blogs on 1010ParkPlace, they’re full of smart tips no one else tells us about!

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13 thoughts on “FORGIVE ME DEAR FEET”

  1. I did ballet for the first 18 years of my life and consequently now have knackered archers. I’ve had dropped metatarsal archers and just recently plantar fasciitis. I absolutely cannot wear completely flat shoes, so flip-flops are a no-no. The whole ballet pump fashion has passed me by lol! I’m ok in heels but only for an evening. I’m now a mid-heel kinda girl, which suits me fine. You only get one pair of feet…

    • In my 20’s a girlfriend took ballet. I loved her ballet slippers and bought some black Danskin slippers I wore all the time… My feet would have been better off if I’d gone barefoot. You’re fortunate you can wear heels or mid-heels for any length of time. I’m envious! Plantar fasciitis… Oh, dear! I hear that’s a terrible pain! Thanks so much! Brenda

  2. Oh, I’m painfully in agreement with this post! I developed my foot problems at the age of twenty. Too much sports, I thought. Finally went to get help in my forties. Two cheilectomies later, I was paying a bit more attention. Josef Seibel has changed my life!

    • Hi Diane, I had to look up “cheilectomy.” I even watched a YouTube video about the surgery. Also, thanks for the Josef Seibel reference. I wasn’t familiar with his shoes. I can see why you like them! It’s amazing how the right shoe changes everything! Thanks, Brenda

  3. The picture of your feet could by my feet. I also have worn inserts in my shoes and my feet are extremely narrow like yours, they are also very long which is a double whammy. I found some wonderful sandals by ECCO which are very practical and most of all comfortable.

  4. I stopped wearing heels a few years ago, I just decided one day that I wasn’t putting up with the pain anymore. Interesting to know – “DID YOU KNOW WE LOSE THE FAT PADS ON THE BOTTOM OF OUR FEET AS WE AGE?” No wonder my feet were killing me when I wore heels.
    I have wide feet and Naturalizer is my favorite source of shoes and sandals. Fortunately I don’t have any other problems so I wear sandals a lot (regular pedicures, of course)

    • Once you know about the loss of the fat pads on the bottom our our feet, the pain makes sense! Oh, then there’s cramming our feet into tiny, downward sloping, pointed shoes! The last time I wore high heels was two summers ago in NYC. Hobbling to the cab, I knew I was in for a miserable night.

  5. Hi Jacqueline, Thanks for the ECCO reference. They have a store near me, so I will check them out. Online it doesn’t look like their shoes come in narrow widths, but I will find out when I visit them. Long and narrow is a double whammy! I’ve gone for years without buying new shoes because I couldn’t find any narrow enough. Even with inserts, I would walk right out of them. One of the most miserable days I can remember was walking in NYC and discovering the inserts in my new shoes weren’t helping at all. Sidewalks are filthy things, so I didn’t want to take my shoes off, but if the pavement hadn’t been brutally hot, I probably would have. Thanks, again! Brenda

  6. Oh, can I add to you list of painful foot molments, caused by years of retail in high heels and hereditary bunions…need I say more!

    Besides custom orthodics in all my Nike Thea sneakers I wear Fratelli Rosetti shoes with lots of structure and style.

  7. As one whose feet suffer daily (torn Achilles Tendons on both feet, bone spurs on both heels), I’m going to check out your shoe recommendations. No more pain for me!

    Take care of those peds, Brenda!

  8. Hi Brenda
    Correction, the shoes are docPrice Mediflex! Developed by Dr Preiss, a german foot specialist. I see Amazon also stocks them.

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