A stop at my local Ralph’s today was jaw-dropping: the candy canes are already gone, and have been replaced with….Valentine’s candy? Seriously. Heart-shaped boxes of bon-bons, and those heart-shaped, red-filled Junior Mints. And, also on the seasonal specialty shelves today: some…. early-arrival Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs? No kidding. Folks, it’s not even New Year’s Eve.
I missed out on my annual carton of eggnog altogether, not to mention ritually powdering my nose with TJ’s Pfefferneusse. I blame it on a long stretch of middling flu, combined with that darn “Breaking Bad” marathon. I haven’t left the house for days.
All of this reinforces my sole (pun intended– keep reading) 2014 resolution: to be here now. Not original, but even more difficult now than when Ram Dass suggested it, pre-Twitter, pre-Instagram, pre-iPhone.
My technique: walking more. This is aligned with our City’s expressed desire to become more pedestrian-friendly. Walking has very few downsides. Most studies I’ve read place the cardio benefits of walking as equal with the benefits of running, and without the impact and injuries. Walking is slower than running, duh, so the experience is more, well, present. There’s really no hurry. I mean really, where’s the freekin’ fire? I pause and look at clouds, and pat down a neighborhood cat which often drops to the pavement for a wiggle at my feet.
But I’ve recently gotten a talking-to from Dr. Robert Joseph, DPM, LA’s leading foot and ankle surgeon. He was appalled to learn that I have walked for miles in my wafer-thin American Outfitter flip-flops (I bought them BECAUSE the sole is super-thin, and the sexy-skinny straps are turquoise.)
Not to mention my Uggs– in fact, the nail of my right big toe just pierced the velvety surface of the right Ugg, which has got to be some sort of hillbilly curse.
Then there are my ridiculous heels.
These three fashion-statements probably dominate every LA girl’s closet: the skinny flip-flop, the plush but spineless, melty-soft sheepskin boot-slipper, and of course the stiletto. Bad, badder, baddest. This little piggy cried wee-wee-wee all the way home.
Dr. Robert Joseph, DPM, newly named Director of Podiatry at Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City, let me know that each of these styles of footwear invites injury, and may cause damage to feet, ankles, knees, spine — well, just work your way up. I do have to admit that after walking around The Huntington Library Desert Garden (awesome) for a few hours, all on concrete, my lower back throbbed the next day. Why? Because flip-flops don’t stay on our feet easily. We find ourselves forming a sort of claw with the toes to keep the darn things on, and this creates drama all the way up the line into the lumbar region.
And a long day trotting around town in those Uggs leaves my arches, or lack of arches, since I have truly flat feet, in a world of hurt. Also feeling a bit squishy and soggy “down there”. Dr. Joseph warns that a sweaty shoe interior, especially common in synthetic fleece-lined boots, may invite toe-nail fungus, too. Great. Just great.
As for the CFMPs, I’ll save the sermon. You’ve heard it all before. If the word “hammertoe” isn’t in your vocabulary yet, it will be soon.
Some shoes look good, period. They show off your pedicure, they boost your rear-view, all the rest.
But from a function standpoint, ideal footwear stabilizes the heel, and supports the arch. Cute shoes never do these things. As a result, according to Dr. Joseph, tendons and ligaments can get twanged, calf muscles can get shortened, joints can get achey, bunions, corns and other crone-worthy developments ensue, and before you know it, it’s just all about pain and no longer even slightly cute.
He’s also the creator of DoctorInsole, the first over-the-counter corrective orthotic with patent pending technology. The good news: wearing these orthotics adjusts posture, stride, weight distribution, and can make even tweaked feet feel, look and function better after a while. Still more good news: Dr. Joseph has designed insoles which fit all sorts of shoes, including dress shoes. That’s getting 2014 off on the right foot.