Shoes and Surgery: the Grand Quandary
I love shoes! I love buying new shoes. I love having excesses of shoes. My closets are practically exploding with shoes. One can never have too many shoes! Did I mention I love shoes?
Since I am a shoe enthusiast it has been difficult to go from my normally huge shoe selection to the meager options I have currently due to the status of my left foot.
Since my Peroneal tendon repair surgery I have gone through several footwear phases; they have each required a different type of shoe. For any of you that are going to be getting a similar surgery, especially you ladies, here’s what I recommend in way of shoes for each phase of your foot’s recovery.
Phase One, cast phase: After my surgery I had to wear a cast for two weeks. I was in bed for the greater part of those two weeks so I didn’t do a whole lot of shoe wearing. When I did wear a shoe, I wore a snug fitting flip-flop and that worked very well, but you could definitely wear other types of flat-soled shoes with your cast. Things to consider when choosing shoes for this phase: wear something comfortable, you’ll be in enough pain as it is. Also, you won’t be very coordinated, unless you are a crutching prodigy, so don’t wear anything loose fitting or prone to make you fall flat on your face-you’ll do enough of that without any assistance.
Phase Two, non-weight bearing in the boot: After I traded in my cast for a boot I still couldn’t put any weight on my foot for two more weeks. I was much more mobile those two weeks than I was the first two, so I was wearing a shoe much more often. I wore shoes that were as flat and comfortable as possible. They, once again, needed to be snug too so I didn’t fall out of them as I crutched gracelessly along. Since I was already back at work at this point, I needed some flat shoes that were work appropriate also.
I found several cute pairs on Zappos.com. I would highly recommend this site. They have literally thousands of shoes and their customer service is fantastic. They also offer free return shipping, which is great in case the shoes you ordered don’t fit.
Phase Three, weight bearing in the boot: This was a very uncomfortable phase. Not surprisingly, it hurts to start walking again. But walking in the boot hurts more than just your injured foot. Because the boot has an odd curved heel, it’s very hard to match it up with an appropriate shoe. Therefore, due to the uneven elevation of your feet, you end up throwing out your back and hips when you walk. I recommend shoes with some sort of heel or platform for this phase. But don’t expect to find any with a heel height that will match your boot exactly, I discovered that that was an impossibility. You can get relatively close though, keeping the aches at a minimum. A small, one to two inch, heel or platform seemed to work best. You men, I’m afraid, are definitely at a disadvantage during this phase. There aren’t too many manly looking shoes that come with one or two inch heels.
Phase Four, walking with a lace-up brace: I am currently in this phase. This phase is also particularly challenging as far as shoe selection goes, but unlike the last phase, it’s not heel size that’s the problem, it’s finding shoes that accommodate you bulky brace. Sneakers and tennis shoes definitely work, however, there is no way I’m going to wear sneakers every day for the next two months. Not only am I a girly-girl, I am a working girl, and wearing sneakers with a skirt isn’t exactly the kind of fashion statement I want to make.
I went shoe shopping last week to try to remedy this situation. I can’t tell you how depressing it was to try on one adorable shoe after another, only to find that none of them fit with the brace. Finally, after trying on at least a dozen pairs, I found one style of Sketchers that worked. I bought both the colors the store had in this style. Thankfully they are dressy enough to wear with skirts but casual enough to wear with pants.
So there you have it, my shoe dilemma. My recommendation: do some major shoe shopping and get the shoes you will need after your surgery, before your surgery. Break them in so they are nice and comfy. You don’t want your good foot hurting too when your bad one is already hurting plenty.
While I am on the subject of footwear I should also add my two-cents about socks.
For your injured foot I would recommend chenille socks while you are wearing the boot and then when you graduate to the brace, I would suggest socks that are thin but still comfortable. I’ve found that if I wear a sock that is the same color as my brace, the sock’s not noticeable when I’m wearing a shoe that exposes the top of my foot, such as my new Sketchers.
Good luck all my surgical friends. May you find some functional and fantastic shoes! Remember, just because you can barely walk doesn’t mean your feet have to look unfashionable!