Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

At least backpedaling is exercise.

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So, today I went back on all my beliefs about footwear. I bought these.

I’ve been injured for almost ten weeks and I’m still not better. Today the pain creeping over the top of my foot was enough to make me limp. So I figured it’s about time. It’s about time I give in to the fact that my foot needs to be protected, supported, immobilized if it’s ever going to heal. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point because it was hard for me to reconcile my idealized opinions about barefoot walking and running with the thought of wearing a shoe that’s exactly the opposite. It sort of feels like talking with my mouth and backpedaling with my feet, as it were.

Nevertheless, I found myself at the local mall during my lunch break, looking for….something. A gel insole, a sneaker, a shoe, anything that would stifle the formidable ice pick slamming into the center of my foot with every step in my (really cute, flexible, otherwise extremely comfortable) Vivobarefoot kicks. I tried on 14 pairs of ugly sensible shoes at DSW and walked around a bit in each pair. Some were too narrow, some were too stiff, some had really weird cushy heels that made my ankles wobble. Then I put on these monstrosities by Born. Clog-like shape. Cushy insole with significant arch support. Cast-like stiffness to the leather upper. The back half is so built up they almost qualify as high heels. I struggled into them, stood up, and took three steps. Five. Ten. I couldn’t believe it…the pain just wasn’t there. I guess these shoes had just the right amount of whatever-it-was-my-foot-wanted. I’ll be damned.

So the lesson here is sometimes you gotta say to hell with over-engineering the solution to the problem, and just go with the thing that happens to work.

That’s not to say I consider these fugly shoes my solution. In fact it’s the opposite. After several weeks of seeing a physical therapist and watching her pay attention to only one of the many ouch spots of my foot, getting no firm diagnosis of the problem and seeing no real improvement other than from the resting I would have done anyway, I decided to get a referral for a podiatrist. The hard part with that, of course, is that the good sports podiatrist I know of through a friend doesn’t belong in the network of doctors to which my PCP is willing to refer me. Unfortunately, the only podiatrist she can refer me to is more familiar with corns and nail fungus than sports injuries. After some persistence and much time spent getting bulldozed by the receptionist on the phone, I secured the referral and an appointment with the sports podiatrist next week. Hooray for small triumphs.

Wish me orthotic-free luck!

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