Thursday, April 21, 2005

No Foot, No Horse

I've had flat feet my whole life. Flat as a pancake. They have always been a source of embarrassment for me. While others had gently curving arches, my arches lay firmly on the ground, causing my ankles to roll in and the outside line of my foot, the part that goes from the heel to the little toe, to curve outward.

"What's wrong with your foot?" Cynthia Black once asked me in fourth grade. "It looks like a banana."

I looked down at the offending appendage. It was clad in what was called a "track shoe," a flimsy piece of black canvas attached to a quarter-inch-thick rubber sole. They were nothing like the space-age pieces of engineering we wear these days. They didn't even offer any arch support. But they were popular then. Everybody wore them.

I ignored Cynthia's question and shifted my weight, using my calf muscles to pull my ankle up to form as straight a line as I possibly could. That helped to disguise the fact that I had flat feet. Years of practicing that maneuver has kept my shoes from developing the tell-tale sign of over-pronation: a wearing down of the inside of a shoe's heel. But that's about all it saved.

I'm 37 now, and one look at the soles of my feet tell the story. What would be my arch, if I had an arch, is thinly calloused. And under my big toe joint is a very thick callous, the result of years and years of its bearing the weight of my body all by itself as I put one foot in front of the other. My 3rd, 4th and 5th toes on each foot are bent somewhat and calloused on top; staying away from those ridiculous high heeled and pointy-toed shoes has kept the severity of that condition to a minimum. Miraculously, I don't have hammer-toes.

Genetics are catching up with me, though. I have arthritic bunions the size and shape of New Jersey on each foot. I've experienced ball-of-foot pain, heel pain, shin splints, a fractured 5th metatarsal, countless sprained ankles, and other pains that I haven't discovered the official name for (except for OUCH). An ongoing, internal dialogue of late goes something like this:

"You need to call the doctor."

"It doesn't hurt that bad. In fact, it barely hurts at all right now."

"But you could barely walk on it last night."

"I know, but it was fine when I got up this morning. I just need to replace my worn out shoes."

"It could be more serious than that. Maybe, just maybe, she might find a solution for you."

So fine. I just called and made an appointment with my PCP. I'll keep you posted.


At 8:46 PM, Blogger Slummyfrog said...

Two people I know who had foot surgery to remove bunions ended up regretting it.


Post a Comment

<< Home