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September 17, 2013

VILLAGE IDIOT: Shop wisely, grasshopper

Those first few steps in the morning are surprisingly painful. It feels as if someone has hammered a 10-pound nail into the middle of your heel. Usually, it goes away quickly, and as long as you keep moving, everything’s fine. If you sit down to watch a little TV and suddenly get up to answer the phone, you will fall flat on your face. Again, for about three steps your feet feel as if someone has beaten them with a club.

The diagnosis is usually plantar fasciitis, meaning the ligament along the bottom of the foot is no longer doing its job correctly. Treatment is all over the map. Surgery, rest, massage, orthotics, cortisone injections, stretching, arch supports, acupuncture, aspirin, ibuprofen, cold therapy, heat therapy, always go barefoot, never go barefoot, sleep with a splint, ad infinitum. Everyone I know seems to have had it or has it, and they all have different recommendations.

I decided to go with the simplest plan first: to buy some shoes with better arch support than the loafers I usually wear. Sue always told me they were bad for my feet but I always had the same answer: “If you play tennis, you wear tennis shoes. If you golf, you wear golf shoes. If you run, you wear running shoes. If you bowl, you wear bowling shoes. So you can see why I wear loafers.”

But it was time for a change. I hobbled down to the shoe store to invest in a pair of trainers that would offer my foot all the love and support it needed. From now on, my aching feet would be caressed all day long by the finest combination of science and the shoemaker’s art. Shoes that would magically make all my problems disappear and let me dance the fandango once again. OK, so I never danced the fandango. I don’t even know what a fandango is, but you get my drift.

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