Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New shoes!

I had the afternoon off so I took advantage of the time to get myself to the orthopedic shoe store where I could get a pedorthist to help me find a new pair. After all, it has been a year since my last pair of shoes. This time, I had high hopes of at least getting something all one color.

I could tell that the pedorthists were skeptical that I needed any assistance from them. The senior one initially tried to get me to get help from one of the regular sales clerks, but I insisted it was pointless to look for shoes without specialized help because of my joint instability. When the junior, RC, came available, I explained again the general instability problem I have and showed the orthotics I had gotten along with the shoes last year, and mentioned that the pedorthist last year believed that my left leg had lost length. So, RC whipped out his trusty level and, sure enough, my left hip is sitting about 3/4 of an inch lower than my right. That's worse than last year, and I knew right away might be why I have been having so much pain throughout my leg. (You know, I told this same information to my regular GP and my orthopedist, who both promptly ignored it and thought I should have an MRI. I really do hate doctors.)

RC went off in search of shoes for me, coming back with, of course, New Balance, and, this time, a box of Drew mary janes. Oh, joy! Mary janes! Is it even a possibility? And also, of course, new orthotics--arch supports and a heel lift. Because, no matter what else, the old ones always turn out to be Not the Right Thing. Ka-ching! Oh well. When you have floppy feet, you get used to paying for the bones to be on the outside.

We started with the New Balance, with had the virtue of being all black, a definite improvement over last year's white and purple. And with the new orthotics, it was almost like walking normally. My heart sunk because I knew the Drews weren't likely to be as good. And they weren't. But they were almost as good! It was really tempting.

The drawback to the Drews was that they didn't stop my left ankle from pronating. Which then led to my knee buckling. Which drags my hip and spine down, too. Oh, one big house of cards, that leg is! I don't think RC had ever seen such instability, because he made a comment about me moving my knee around. I again pointed out to him that I all my joints are unstable, and that the only moving I was doing of my knee was trying to keep it from collapsing.

And that led to his suggestion that I need a build-up on the arch support. We discussed the shoes a bit more, because my vanity was pulling me toward the Drew. But I decided to get the NB. Sigh. They really are more supportive. If uglier. But the good part is that the build-up is on the orthotic, not the shoe, so if the opportunity presents itself to get the Drews (a second pair of shoes? for me? ones I could wear and stand in at nice events, not just sit? ooooh, I shouldn't get so crazy greedy!), I can just switch out the orthotics.

So, $235 later, at least, my shoes are all black and not driving me to my knees. Worth every penny.


FridaWrites said...

I'm glad you found something that worked, and I think you would enjoy the second pair too. I quickly forget guilt about shoe cost more than other things because they get their use every day and relieve a lot of pain! Sometimes you can find brand new shoes on ebay that someone just didn't want or that are overstocked/being closed out--got my daughter's boots this way for 1/2 list price; her Crocs too. So you could check for the Drews periodically and also for replacements if you like these a lot and need more down the road. Also Zappos sometimes runs great deals.

I love Keens--some hiking shoes and trail runners prevent ankle turning/pronation because they are made to be stable for hikers' safety. Works well for me too, but I don't know if that helps enough.

I always feel that I would be more comfortable standing with my left leg elevated slightly--and sitting with some kind of wedge under my left SI joint. I don't know how much of a rise, but when I stand for any time at all I often find myself standing on the right leg only because of the pain in the left.

yanub said...

Frida, I feel the same way about wanting a wedge under my left hip! I wonder why my left leg has deteriorated so much faster than the right one.

Yeah, I wrote down the name of the style and the size for the Drew shoes, in case I can find an inexpensive-ish pair. But there is simply no way to avoid at least an annual pricey trip to the shoe store, seeing as how I have to get fitted so carefully. I think next year will be worse/different, because the pedorthist thinks I am at the point of needing the sole built up. So, that means doctor's visits and fighting them just to get a freaking mechanical problem taken care of. I swear, doctors nowadays don't want to do anything that doesn't involve expensive tests and pills taken in perpetuity. It's always a battle, but at least I know what hill I need to be taking this time.

FridaWrites said...

Are you having arthritis in your hip? That could explain the increased problems in one leg.

Yes, I hear you with that. Proper ergonomics, no; surgeries and pills, yes. I know several people with heel problems, and heel cups/gel pads have never been recommended to them!

yanub said...

Officially arthritis? Heck if I know for sure. I really need to see what my doctor has put in my chart. Arthritis gets mentioned offhand, as if we talk about it all the time, and then ignored. The orthopedist, for instance, mentioned it after reviewing all my xrays and the MRI, and then promptly ignored it.

The trouble, I think, is that I would need to be a full-time patient in order to winnow through doctors until I find a couple who display signs of competency regarding hypermobility. And I can't do that and also be a full-time worker. And if I'm not a full-time worker, then I don't have health insurance so then the idea of seeing a doctor for anything is moot. Of course, if I can't manage the hypermobility, I'll end up not being able to work anyways. Alas for living in Texas. There is no convenient brick wall to bash my head against to symbolize my frustration. I'll have to make do with the barbed wire fence. Ow! Poke-y!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Dang, where are you getting your new balance, the 'lets double our price outlet?' As a runner who has one leg a couple inches shorter than the other and wide feet I am well aware of the strange people at New Balance who actually make shoes for humans. You know the kind of people who might have thin feet or wide feet or in my case have a rolling pronation on one leg while running (the toes and heel wear tell the story) and so I ended up with the clunky as bricks 577 or 533 or whatever number they have for the, 'this will hold your back foot, ankle and tendon in place and not roll at all even though your foot is begging it to - in an 4E width.' - and then I bought it for like $99 when I was desperate and could only find a certain sale and $39 on half price clearance. So I don't think they have to be all black, as for example, I still have a pair I got from the mens department, which was a mesh upper in baby blue and white, could breathe, all that stuff. Please, talk to a New Balance store and then you can find the numbers from this year (or more important last year, which are on sale) - as for femme footwear, have you tried demonia, I am not sure how they are on rolling pronation but they have a line of unisex boots which is styling and heavy support.

yanub said...

I am pretty sure the increased cost reflects the staff pedorthists's salaries. It's an orthopedic shoe store, not a New Balance one. And I really need their help. There's no pair of shoes that has everything I need in it, so I have to get multiple orthotics. Having orthotics immediately limits shoe choice, because a surprising number of shoes you wouldn't think pose a problem have absolutely no extra room for even a flimsy orthotic. And my orthotics haven't been flimsy in years. So, this is how it goes. If I go into just any store and shop on my own for shoes, I can't find anything worth buying at any price, and I am quickly exhausted from the entire process of getting shoes, taking shoes on and off and taking out and inserting orthotics. I need help that knows what they are doing. I could, theoretically, wait for a sale. But doing that means scheduling an hour and a half round trip, assuming I can make an appointment with the pedorthist for the day of the sale. Ideally, I would get a style that I am happy with, and could then just order the same thing online at a better price. I wasn't happy last year.

I wanted the black shoes. Everyday I put on my breathable white and purple shoes last year, I hated them. The aesthetics drove me up the wall. So, black is better.

Did you get a build-up in your shoes? Who did that for you without a pedorthist? Or did you just ignore the discrepancy?

Full Tilt said...

Shoes drive me bats because I have foot issues, braces that need to fit inside and gait issues that can lead to early wear on expensive footwear. Now that I have more mobility issues and use a ti-lite for distances (which is relative)some of these won't be as great a concern. Even so, fit and cost remain issues and good shoes are worth more than the dent to my budget. Enjoy yours.
Full Tilt AKA E.