Tag Archives: high heels

It's all about the shoes

I have about 20 pairs of shoes. That’s not many, considering how much I love shoes, but alas my budget won’t allow me to indulge my obsession too much. I love high heeled shoes especially. A good pair of heels makes me feel powerful, sexy, professional, competent.

Irene Bordoni flashing leg in some great shoes

Irene Bordoni flashing leg in some great shoes, circa 1912

I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that I may never be able to wear my pumps around the office all day/every day, ever again. I haven’t worn heels since I discovered my chronic foot injury in February (they think it’s a mild form of arthritis brought on by biomechanical imbalance + years of wearing heels + putting on the miles in training). I’m so focused on crossing the finish line at the Royal Victoria Marathon on Oct 11 that nothing will stand in my way. Not even pretty shoes.

Running shoes are a whole ‘nother matter. Comfort is key. After a long painful bout with plantar fasciitis years ago, before my first half marathon, I always wear orthotics. Recently, I had new orthotics made to better help with the newfound arthritic toe joint. At the time the orthotics guy said “You need a more stable shoe, more rigid in the forefoot to help stabilize – even with the orthotic.”

But I was moving, and cash-strapped, so I put off buying new running shoes, while still trying to run 40 km per week or more.

Then the shinsplints came, and I was off for a couple of weeks, getting physio and massage (ever had your shins massaged? It’s NOT FUN. It’s PAINFUL). Then, the knee pain began. Enough, I said to myself. Get new runners. Now.

Asics Gel Fortitude

Asics Gel Fortitude

So I left myself a good week to try out some new shoes. Instead of a hill run, I stayed at Frontrunners one evening determined to find shoes. Amazingly, the first pair I tried (Asics Gel Fortitude) felt – well – great! Just to be certain, I headed over to the Y to do a 30-minute treadmill run. As long as I didn’t wear them outside, I could return them and try another pair.

*Aside – if you’re ever tempted to cheap out get new athletic shoes from a generic big box department or sporting goods store, let this blog post be a lesson to you. Get thee to a specialty store and let the staff take care of you. It’s about your health and well-being and it’s worth every penny.

Amazingly – my knee pain disappeared. My shins felt great. Just to be certain, I kept them for a couple days, and did another treadmill run. Same deal – no pain, just the joy of running.

Classic red peep-toes, from Markusram

Classic red peep-toes, from Markusram

Can simply getting the right pair of shoes make that much difference? Yes, it can. After our 2-hour, 20-minute long run (including hills and pick-ups) on Saturday, I felt like I could go the whole 42.2 k distance pain-free.

Epilogue: last week I forgot to bring what I call my “granny shoes” to work (they’re somewhat stylish Clarks “un.structured” line low-profile wedge heel) and instead had to put on a pair of 2″ heels from the collection I keep in my office.

Tah-dah! No foot pain! I’ll be sashaying downtown in my 4″ London Flys before you know it!

Share

My left foot

Is it any wonder I had to stop and ask two Royal Jubilee Hospital staff directions to Nuclear Medicine after trying to follow the Worst Instructions Ever, handed to me at the front desk? —

  • Walk past the Telus telephones to the end of the hallway.
  • Turn right and continue walking.
  • Walk down the hallway.
  • Pass the LAB on the left.
  • NUC MED is on your right.
  • PLEASE CHECK IN.

In fact, you have to walk quite a bit past the pay phones, past a couple of laboratories and such (none of which are marked “LAB”), take a couple of turns and jogs (but essentially staying in the same long hallway), and pass at least two sets of elevators before finding a sign marked – not “NUC MED” as advertised – but “Nuclear Medicine.”

I received the directions two weeks ago when I showed up for my bone scan. They injected me with some inert isotope stuff (to provide contrast for the pictures), sent me away to let it seep into my bones, and I returned two hours later so they could scan the pesky, painful big toe joint on my left foot.

Will I ever be able to wear them again?

Will I ever be able to wear them again?

My doctor revealed the results yesterday. The good news – not a stress fracture, as she had feared. I am fine to run the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon and start training for the Royal Victoria Marathon.

The not-so-good news: it’s arthritis, probably caused by mechanical imbalances in my physiology, combined with wear and tear from years of running, hiking, climbing and my love of high heels. I thought about this for a day and got kinda depressed.

Fractured bones heal. Joint damage is permanent, as far as I can tell. I’m going to have to manage this pain for the rest of my life.

So far my Google search has turned up next to nothing. Runner’s World Online has a couple of articles about how running does not cause arthritis (well, all things being equal, and on the whole, probably not – runners are on the whole healthier. But biomechanical imbalances are another ball-o-wax). There are a whole bunch of web sites just itching to take my money for some supplement or other. Um – no thanks. I’m sticking to science-based medicine thank you very much.

I’m breaking in new orthotics as I write. I’m on another course of anti-inflammatories. That’s all I got – for now. I see Sue the Physiotherapist on Tuesday, who has already cleared me to run the race on May 3. After that – well – it’s not going to stop me from running. Not yet.

Share

Marathoners’ Torture #1: 10-step guide for bathing in ice.

Running is torture on feet, so is wearing high-heeled shoes at work all day. I’ve been through months of recovery for plantar fasciitis and am determined not to go there again, but equally determined to keep running and to wear pretty shoes. I’m my podiatrist’s nightmare.

Here is my 10-step evening ritual designed to keep me on my feet.
What you’ll need:

  • hot tea,
  • your favourite comfy chair and blanket,
  • a fluffy towel,
  • your favourite TV show (or your mobile device or laptop),
  • a basin,
  • two trays of ice cubes,
  • a watch or timer,
  • fortitude.
  • Optional: a glass of wine, scotch or tequila.

What you’ll do:

  1. Make tea and have it ready next to your comfy chair, blanket and timer.
  2. Turn on your favourite TV show. Make sure it’s something absorbing like Battlestar Galactica or Dexter. Alternatively, get out your mobile device or laptop and log in to Twitter.
  3. Fill the basin only to about 3-5 centimetres (1 to 1-and-a-half inches) of cold water.
  4. Place basin, trays of ice cubes next to comfy chair.
  5. Sit with feet bare and blanket over legs. Set stopwatch or timer for about 6 minutes. (You might want to start out with 2 or 3 minutes).
  6. Take a deep breath.
  7. Plunge feet into cold water.
  8. Immediately dump the two trays of ice cubes into the water around your feet. Try not to howl, it will scare your family and pets.
  9. Keep breathing! Keep your feet in there! Google your exes, Tweet your pain, fantasize about Michael C. Hall – but stay with it!
  10. When your timer goes off, you may gratefully and with much drama take your feet out of the water and wrap them in the towel.
  11. Optional: enjoy your wine, scotch or tequila.

Tips:

  • Do daily for injury prevention
  • To be enjoyed with a regular regimen of stretching and strength training.
  • Modification: do this with your legs in the bathtub (and more ice) after a 2+ hour training run or a race. Some races provide ice water barrels to jump in afterwards.

I’m not gonna lie to you, this is painful, but then so is running a marathon with injured feet. Embrace the suck. Besides, it feels so damn good when you take your feet out of that damn ice!

(With thanks to Duane Banman, the massage therapist who urged me to adopt this practice. His lair is otherwise known to marathoners and triathletes in Regina, SK as “Duane’s House of Pain.”)

Share