In a minute, I'll be heading off to see a podiatrist about my - I hate the word; there's something embarrassing about it - bunion. In middle school, I had to cut short my dreams for a career as a prima ballerina and give up the toe shoes because I had weird feet. The chief concern appeared to be bunions, esp. on my right foot. The podiatrist gave me shoe inserts and essentially doomed me to a life of ugly shoes. I eventually was able to give up the inserts and to wear fun shoes and heels, but I always had to be very careful with what I put on my feet.
Some time later, I hurt my back and found that I couldn't wear heels of any kind. That's not really a huge sacrifice, except that there are some outfits that really don't look right without shoes with heels.
In more recent years, though, after I managed to mostly cure my back problems through yoga, I once again began wearing unsensible shoes. And it felt good for my self-esteem, if not for my feet. In fact, my feet were quite unhappy with the shoes, but I wore them anyway. Some of the worst offenders turned out to be - big surprise - Payless shoes, which are cheaply and poorly made. (Advice to all shoe-wearers: always pay more for your shoes. Pay less for everything else, but the shoes should be excellent quality.)
There was one pair dancing shoes, in particular, that I blame for my current predicament. They were gorgeous - velvety Mary Janes with a dancin' heel and a big flower on each toe. They were decadent, sexy, and they felt wonderful on my feet. Though...after a while, I did notice that my right big toe would be numb for a few days after I wore them out dancing. And after more time had passed, I noticed that the numb feeling never quite went away.
One night, the cab we'd called never showed up when the club closed, and we had to walk about a mile and a half. In the shoes. And my feet hurt so bad that I wanted to cry, but I was in so much pain that I didn't have the energy for tears.
Sometime after this, I realized that the shoes, once comfortable, no longer felt good on my feet. All the dancing, combined with the long march, had worn them out. So I tossed them. But it was too late - the damage had been done, and now, every pair of shoes I put on was uncomfortable. For the first time since middle school, the bunion was back - and this time, it hurt.
When I called my doctor for a recommendation yesterday, she said, "oh, so you're ready to have the surgery?" I told her I most certainly was not thinking along those lines at all, and she said, "there are two kinds of bunions: surgical and non-surgical." And she's sent me to a podiatrists that does this surgery, so I guess we'll see what he has to say.
Meanwhile, I'll be cleansing my shoe collection of my two pairs of Payless boots. I'll have to think long and hard about the clunky Nine West lace-ups and the three-inch ankle-wraps (SOB - it kills me to think about parting with these).
I'm heartbroken at the thought of Naturalizers for the rest of my life...