I am not a shoe gal, or at least I don’t think I am. Occasionally in my pre-rheumatoid disease years, I’d find a cute pair of boots or some such thing. Since rheumatoid, I am a flip flop girl! I don’t know about anybody else, but I struggle to wear different shoes. If I wear a pair of shoes one day, then change shoes the next, my whole body feels like crap. I typically buy a new pair of shoes in the fall (my winter flip flops) and another 1-2 pairs in the spring (my summer flip flops). I wear them until they die. Actually, I have some that are quite dead, and I continue to wear them as they’re comfy. My family thinks I am insane. We take hikes in the mountains. Everybody is wearing hiking boots with ankle protection, except me, the crazy rheumatoid gal. I’m wearing (and climbing over rocks in) flip flops! Changing to different shoes seems to mess up my whole posture, my back, hips, knees, feet. All of this can get messed up, simply from changing shoes. Changing shoes before a hike, bad idea.
Why flip flops? Even if I’m having a horrible RA day, they’re easy to put on. I don’t have to bend over. I don’t have to tie them. I don’t have to tug them to get them off. They’re the perfect rheumatoid (or maybe flat out lazy) shoe. When I went to my rheumy appointment a couple of weeks ago, I noted all 7 patients in the waiting room were wearing flip flops. Are they just that popular, or is it a rheumatoid thing?
I try to stick to a nearly flat, but very very (we’re talking 1/2-1 inch) slightly elevated heal. I was blessed with good feet, other than my rheumatoid disease. A few years ago, I spoke to my physical therapist about whether my flat flip floppy shoes were a good thing for me to be wearing. To my surprise, she told me flat or slightly elevated shoes, including my crazy flip flops, were perfect for my feet.
So, that brings me to this week. I work in the schools and have summers off. I went back to work about 3 weeks ago, wearing the standard flip flops I wore most of the summer. Standing on my feet all day, and getting acclimated back into school, consistent shoes should be a top priority. Of course, when I’m feeling so darn good, sometimes I forget the rules I’ve made for myself. On Monday, I hurt my knee while walking at work (see this post: knee brace). It didn’t seem like RA pain, but I remembered having this type of pain before. I was worried my RA was going crazy or something. Today, my feet are both swollen, but my left way more than my right. My knee is still bugging me. As I was on the couch for 3+ hours trying to get the swelling down, it finally dawned on me what the problem was. My shoes! On Monday, right before I was heading to work, I took our new puppy out to potty, and well, I stepped in dog poop. Not having time to clean my shoes off, I left them on the porch, grabbed another pair of flip flops, and ran out the door. I’ve been wearing those other flip flops for 3 days while standing on my feet all day. Oops! Mystery solved, but damage done. This is going to take a few days to recover. I hate that!
It could be worse. For 3+ years after my son was born, I wore a pair of black crocs. My feet were so swollen, my shoe size changed daily, none of my old shoes fit, having “fitted” shoes hurt, and I was a mess. We live in Colorado, and in the snow, rain, sleet, hail, etc… I wore a pair of black crocs with the holes in them. They worked. They fit when no other shoe would, and although not as easy to get on as flip flops, they weren’t much harder. When I needed winter boots, I put plastic grocery bags over my socks, then put my feet in my crocs. It was crazy (and sometimes cold), but it worked. But those days are hopefully over, and I am back to my happy flip flops!
For my 40th birthday, I requested a pair of boots (the pretty ones, not the winter ones). I think it was the first pair of non-flip flop or croc shoes I’ve gotten in 8 years. They’re super flat, still challenging to wear for a long period of time, but I did wear them quite a bit last winter. We’ll see how it goes this winter. Maybe someday I’ll branch further out of flip flop land!