One of the last things I did in 2009 was go, yet again, on a quest for decent orthopedic shoes. This time, I even remembered to bring my prescription! Yay! When you know from the outset that your fugly shoes and insoles are going to cost you in the neighborhood of $200, it is nice to know at least they won't be taxed.
The ones I bought back in August were already breaking down from the stress of my gait and stance and being worn constantly everyday. And shoes that are breaking down don't do much to prevent pain or keep me from falling over. And if the shoes aren't preventing pain and keeping me upright, then tell me again why I am wearing orthopedic shoes with my dresses? Yes, time for new visually unappealing footwear.
I went to a different orthopedic shop this time, that carries slightly different stock in both shoes and in-soles. So, this time, I ended up with a pair of Drew Boas and a whole new in-sole build. The Boas are still not what one would call appropriate for dresses, but I actually like their look. They are black with silver highlights and glow-in-the-dark white piping. (Just like the one on this page about them.) And they don't have to be tied, which is an unexpected good feature. Instead, there's a knob on the back that twists to tighten the lacing. Since my fingers are on the wanky side, my laces were always coming undone and posing a tripping hazard. I still have to tighten these throughout the day, but the laces can only get a bit loose, not flop around. And I just have to tug on the knob to loosen the laces up enough to take the shoes off, so removing them isn't the chore it often is if I have ties that I've managed to somehow get to stay put.
OK, that's the shoe part. The really exciting part is the insole. They had me try Cluffy Wedges to prevent my big toes from hyperextending and help with the pronation. And they work! I was really hesitant to say anything to y'all at first for fear that the good effects were temporary and that my sloppy feet would just find a new way to fail. And maybe they still will. Who knows? My feet have mysterious Fail powers. But these past two weeks, it's been amazing. Dear hearts, I actually have been able to take the stairs because my knees and hips have fallen into alignment. I had--get this!--muscle pain in my thighs and back instead of joint pain from the waist down! To me, this is sort of the toe version of Silver Ring Splints. Yes, I still have to have significant arch support and a lift for my left leg, and I still have to wear orthopedic--er, "comfort"--shoes, but it is a big deal to be able to actually stand in the checkout line at the grocery store for as long as it takes instead of having to abandon the cart and try shopping again some other time.
And I'm also happy with Total Relief Footwear, for not only figuring out a good system for me but also being understanding in finding me something that I don't find depressing to wear. They were worth the extra driving distance.