I’ve had a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings for the last few weeks. Not because I’m lazy or staying up too late or depressed. No, I have a hard time making myself get up because I know that the first few steps of my day are going to be excruciating. For the first few minutes that I’m up, every step I take with my right foot feels like a step on a bed of knives. Some of you unfortunately know why this is – plantar fasciitis. It’s a painful condition that is at its worst first thing in the morning or after sitting for a period of time. For one of a variety of reasons, the fascia along the bottom of the foot gets tiny little tears in it which causes inflammation and pain. When the foot is at rest, the tendons relax. When you stand or walk, they are stretched taut again over the bones. Inflamed tissue and tendons + tears + stretching = OUCH! It takes weeks, sometimes months, for it to heal. Can I just say that I’m not happy about this?
This is my third round of plantar fasciitis over the course of my adult life. The first two times were back when I was running some. Plantar fasciitis tends to be an overuse/abuse kind of issue. At least then I could call it a running injury. That makes it sound more like a trophy than a weakness. There has been no running for me for the last couple of years, so I can’t use that explanation this time. I wish I knew why it is back. The most likely reason that I have been able to come up with is…shoes.
Now I know that there are a lot of women (and plenty of men) who love shoes. They like shoes for every outfit and every occasion. Y’all, I hate shopping for shoes. Hate it! I mean, I really don’t even like to wear shoes very much. A dear friend in Charleston who knew me very well even bought me a plaque for my office:
Unfortunately, shoes are a necessity. So I go for comfort more than anything else these days. Once I find a shoe that meets my needs and is comfortable, then I’m set. I don’t want tons more shoes. I like the ones I have. And sometimes I will wear them until there are holes in the soles. (Yes, it is embarrassing to admit it. But really – I loved those shoes!) My daughters and my best friend harass me about this all the time. “Get new shoes,” they say. “But I like these!” I insist. “I think I can make them last at least until the end of the season.” Never mind the wear and tear – always uneven, thanks to my bowlegged gait that causes me to strike more heavily on the outside of my foot. Never mind that they are dingy and a year or two out of style. By golly, I like them and I will get my money’s worth out of them!
Here’s the thing. They really were good shoes when I got them. They were super-comfortable before the soles became worn. They were stylish – at least in the season that I bought them. But nothing lasts forever, no matter how hard I try to make it.
And it’s not like I can’t afford new shoes. I just hate shopping for them. Quite frankly, I like what I have and I don’t want to change. If it’s worked for me this long, why should I?
I want you to know that I rarely spend time thinking about shoes. Really, I don’t. But because it’s been hurting me so much to walk lately, they’ve been on my mind a lot more. And the more I think about it, the more ridiculous I feel. Of course the shoes that I wear bearing the shock of step after step under my “more than it should be” weight aren’t going to keep working for me forever, no matter how much I loved them when I bought them or how comfortable they were when I first put them on. Everything has a season and seasons are made to change. As are shoes!
I mull over this as I hobble along and then….Aha! This isn’t just a lesson about shoes! This is a life lesson about, well, just about everything. We try something. It works. We like it. We get comfortable with it. We get attached to it. We cling to it, determined to make it work long after it’s lost its usefulness. We don’t want something new, or something different, or something better. We want what we know. There’s just one problem. What we know has outlived its usefulness and has now reached the point where to hold on to it means it now cripples us. All because we fail to remember that there is a season for everything, and seasons are meant to change.
I wish I could say that I’ve now learned my lesson for good, but I doubt it. It is our nature to cling to the familiar. It’s not a tendency that is easily overcome. And goodness knows I come from a long line of hard-headed, um, I mean, strong-willed women. I will have plenty of opportunity to be reminded of this lesson, however. Like, with every step I take for however many weeks it takes me to get better.
So for now, ice and heat, shoe inserts, compression sleeves, stretches, rest…and good shoes. Let’s just hope I don’t get too attached to these…