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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rock and roll

     So now that my right foot is close to normal in size and shape, I decided it was time to start carefully looking at shoe options!  Did you say shopping??? YIPEE!  Only problem was it was told to me in no uncertain terms that my "new" foot would require that I make some specific choices when it came to selecting shoes now and in the future.
      Gone were the days of being able to wear whatever shoe I wanted no matter the style, heel or toe.  Truth be told the days had passed not too long after my RA entered my life.  Within a few years, certain shoes became tools of torture that I am sure were used during the Inquisition.  
     Over the years my choices were reduced to large shapeless boots like Uggs, slip on crocs, or flip flops.  That pretty much sums up my options in the last several years.  

     I adapted pretty well and in fact still plan to wear these shoes a lot!  They are so comfortable and when my feet are tired or achy they are perfect.  Were they good for my feet?  Probably not...but when your feet are in pain the main goal is to reduce that pain if you plan to keep moving at all.  So in the end my closet had more shoes on the floor than most local shoe stores and the sad part is that over time most could no longer be worn....
     ...but that did not stop me on my quest to find shoes that would work with my arthritic and severely misshapen feet.  In my demented state of certainty that there was indeed a shoe out there just for me, I spent far too much time and money.  
     In the end I came back to the old standards. The shoes I purchased in my deluded state would either be returned or buried beneath the mountain of unworn shoes that lived in my closet.  
     Until you have experienced the difficulty of walking on feet in the throes of an RA flare you truly have no idea what it is like.

     To call it pain is far too simple and to be honest I can think of a different 4 letter word that I would prefer to use when trying to express my foot discomfort!  All of this, explains why, among many reasons, I chose to have foot reconstruction surgery done in June of 2012 (about 4 months ago).  

     So now that I have a new foot, and another to follow in January, 2013, I am determined to start anew in my quest for the perfect shoes...of all kind...for working out, for casual, dress, work, etc.  
     To that end I have begun the acquisition (can you say shopping?) process and to my delight have found some great brands, styles and types of shoes!  
     To get back to the title of this post, I was told by my surgeon and rheumatologist that I needed to get relatively stiff soled shoes that had a "rocker sole" to prevent me from going "off toe" when I walk.  This because now that I have had the arthrodesis (fusion) of the great toe and ostectomy of the 4 small toes they do not want me to under any circumstances put repeated weight on the forefoot.  That meant having to adjust to "walking off" my midfoot which took some time but has been easier than it sounds given practice, practice, practice.  
     So after 8 solid weeks of healing, PT and practice I can now wear several pairs of new shoes!  One type I highly recommend are the shape up type sneakers that are out 
there such as Skechers. 

     These work great for me to walk around in and I actually have started doing the treadmill again, which my doctors did not think I would be able to do.....yea, right.....
    Another great brand I just discovered is called MBT and they make all types of shoes.  I just got the dress pump in tan and black patent and they are so comfortable!
I also wanted a casual shoe that would work with slacks and jeans so I picked up these recently.  This particular brand is called Aetrex. They come in other colors as well.
     As you can see one thing they all have in common is the rocker sole to that I roll off the heal and midfoot and apply no pressure to the toes.  I often get mine on Amazon which is my absolute favorite place to shop!  I have also just found a site, Footwear, etc. that has an entire section called Wellness shoes that is just awesome...brand after brand of shoes that will work for folks with foot issues.  I am so excited that I found them.  I am now a true "rock and roll" star!
     I have just BEGUN to gather my updated shoe collection which I am sure will enjoy its newly expanded space in my closet as I got rid of the old ones to make way for the new! Of course my trusty Uggs, Crocs, and flip flops will still get plenty of use!  
     Their are several take aways from this post as to RA management. One - you can come back from surgery better  and stronger than before so don't hesitate...focus on the outcome.  Two - learn to ADAPT...that is the key to success with RA and will continue to be if you are to successfully manage it.  Three - don't just accept the challenge, embrace it and you can have fun with it...look at me now, a real Rock Star Diva who plans to "rock and roll" the night away!

1 comment:

abcsofra said...

Yippeee! Shoes, shoes, shoes! I so agree that finding a shoe to fit ra feet is such a challenge. Find one, wear it a day or so and feet change and out go the shoes. So far my main stay are very good supportive running sneakers. Not the best looking things (particularly now that they insist on the insane color arrays) but hey...we gotta do what we gotta do. I am glad that your surgery seems to have given you the results you hope for. Got my hopes up for the next one to work as well :-) Happy trails ahead!