Monday, October 17, 2011



"Your pedal extremities are colossal" crooned Fats Waller in his 1940's humorous song about a woman he loved with big feet.  "Yes your feets too big," he wailed,  "from your ankles down you  just gots too much feet."   but what he did not say (natch)  is that your  feet can also be too TINY,  have gout, plantar fascitis, fallen arches, mallet toes or my favorite: MORTONS NEUROMA .

The foot, with 26 bones, 33 joints and more than one hundres muscles ligaments and tendons,  truly needs good protection.       Many of my patients do not want to give up the "slipper shuffling" and there comes a time where I have to put my foot down (sorry)  and say:    "Get out of those small shoes for them there humongous feet.    I know you love those slippers but its time to lose them and start truly walking.

We all have our favorite shoes.  Think of the choices you have when you get dressed in the morning.  Isn't it true that there is  a favorite pair that you tend to want to wear?  The ones that also describe how you are feeling that day  Maybe sporty in those tennis shoes, or playful in a mid heel open toe,  sexy in your red high heels..                                                          

When you get to be in your 80's and 90's though,   the slippers begin to look really good.  I mean think how simple.. No more tying the laces, no more bending down,  no more finding socks to match.....Yep,, I find myself being a shoe salesman to my patients.

 Remember them? those guys you can't find anymore; the ones that actually measured your foot, then went to the back of the store,  pulled  from the shelves various shoes sizes and styles, brought them back, stayed there while you tried them on while you said  how you felt and looked in each pair. You had an accomplice.  Thats me on my job.

   After having knee replacement, this field worker would not give up his cowboy boots. I insisted he put on the tennis shoes that his wife had bought for him probably the only time he ever put on a pair.  He would never want to walk very far and after a few sessions he told me that he felt horrible without his boots on and even though  he knew it was not good for his knee, he could never give up wearing his boots..

Another woman who also had knee replacement told me she had no shoes that were comfortable anymore.  She was used to going out a lot with her very successful business man husband to lots of local high society  events.  She always dressed up.   When we went to her closet, there were about 100 pairs of shoes!  She said: "I cry when I come here because with my knees hurting, I cannot wear any of these..."  They were all quite expensive, modern, chic.... I told her its time for comfort.  She looked at me as if I just told her her house was burning down and then said: "Who should I give all these shoes to?"

When I met John, an 89 year old, he had diabetes, blood pressure problems and just general weakness.  He loved the kinds of shoes he wore now and had bought three pairs.    He had begun to cut through the tops of the leather of the shoes tto relieve the pressure as his feet had widened and he had a pressure sore on one toe.  We went online together, found the shoes he liked and ordered a larger pair.  He was thrilled.
I loved when one of my patients gave me  a pair of brand new high- top- super- white- ultra- suede -super padded tennis shoes.  I was hoping they would fit this 79 year old hispanic man, suffering from hip problems whom I knew could never afford them.   When I presented them with these shoes,  I was praying to god they would fit..He put them on and kept saying: "Esos, si son buenos,, esos si son buenos (these are good, these are real good) He showed off how well he could walk and even showed me he did not need his cane anymore!
There is just something about putting on the right pair of shoes.  Of course,  it certainly  helps when it is prince charming and he has come to find you to return your long lost slipper so that you both can live happily-ever-after....