liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Why I Don't Wear Flats

I used to wear heels that made me six feet tall.  I loved being tall and accepted my big feet for the anchors.  I never liked my body much though, or my face, always found fault.  When I was approaching 30 years old I decided to get in shape.  I'd been in shape a couple of times before... from jiujitsu in high school and my first year of river guiding.  My plan at age 30 had to do with biking, swimming, and walking, hopefully running but I had never been a runner.

I was going to the University of Tennessee, remedying an old regret.  Working retail at the mall, living at the log cabin, and riding my bike into town for classes.  I was swimming in the pool, outdoor and then indoor as the fall came on.  I can't remember running.  I definitely rode my bike a lot and started feeling strong on it.  Knoxville is a hilly city, and "The Hill" is the old campus, which looks across at the newer hospital on the next hill over.  Many students lived in the old neighborhoods around the hospital, Victorian homes with peaked roofs and balconies and grand porches.

I was riding my bike home from somewhere in that neighborhood and coming down that hill toward the light where I turned left to go up another hill.  I liked getting to take my momentum from coming down the hill around the corner, rather than having to stop for a light at the bottom of the hill.  Really it was sheer laziness.  I just didn't want to have to puff my way up that next hill if I could glide it. I was willing to take chances to make the light, to go faster down the hill than I would normally go, and to turn left on a yellower light than I might otherwise have attempted.  In other words I was "riding out of bounds", that is to say, I was pushing the edge of the law and I was inexperienced.  I'd had only one bike wreck to date and that was a lesson well learned about gravel and curves.  I hadn't started colliding with moving objects yet.

I can still see it in my mind's eye.  The light is green.  I am right behind this jeep for some reason (I didn't normally draft anybody), really just off the right corner of his bumper.  The light is yellow and we enter the intersection in parallel, things are looking good for me to make the light and hit the hill with momentum.  Boom I see the truck hit the truck's grill and roll off I think the passenger side of the hood.  My feet hit the pavement first and my sneakers fly off.

I lay there for a long moment.  People in cars are stopped all around and some get out of their cars and come to ask me if I am OK.  I tell them I am not sure and ask for a little time to check myself out.  I was indeed wearing a helmet however my head somehow was not impacted at all.  Someone brings my shoes.  My foot hurts but I hobble to the curb.  The guy who hit me comes up, offers me a ride home.  The ambulance arrives and I tell them I'll take the ride home instead.

The guy who hit me rather thought the whole thing was my fault.  But he gave me a ride home.  I called my mother and she took me to the store where I bought a very sugary cookie and wolfed it down.

I don't remember the recuperation much but the foot has hurt ever since them.  I should have gone and got it checked out or fixed... maybe they'd have done something useful for me, but I doubt it somehow.  I don't really know what the initial injury was but the effect was that if the ball of my left foot is compressed side to side at all, it pinches a nerve between my 2nd and 3rd metatarsals (long foot bones).  Each pinch of that nerve seems to damage it a little bit, not to mention it zings my toes and the sensation doesn't go away quickly.  If I ignore the pinches and walk on it, it swells up and gets really painful.

With a wide enough shoe and support in just the right places, that nerve does not get pinched.  Even with a load on my back, I can walk without regularly pinching that nerve.  Which makes walking enjoyable.  I can build an arch support in any shoe, but I will tell you that there area  few shoes that leave room for my nerve without significant modification.  Danskos, birkenstocks, chacos, and keens all can work.  All other shoes including the very cute flats and heels my mother just dragged out of storage, I cannot wear, because I was too stubborn to go get my foot "fixed".

And imagine, there are women who get their foot bones modified so that they CAN wear uncomfortable fancy shoes.
Tags: biking, feet, fitness, my health, my life, nervous system, pain, povery, tennessee

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