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Lupus, tendons and the happy sometimes pedestrian

Posted Jan 30 2013 1:15am

Shopping in shoes that hurt

There is nothing more difficult to bear than walking in shoes that make your feet hurt.  When lupus focuses on the tendons in my feet and ankles, my ankles swell and it seems no pair of shoes is comfortable.  Usually, I have worn my high quality sneakers to go shopping.  Lately, I have worn them to work with slacks to baby my swollen tendons.  However, on Saturday, my sneakers were soaked in a deep puddle during the morning’s drenching rain storm.


Sneakers soaked in a deep puddle!
Photo credit

Even in Arizona, we have very cold weather in January and February, and with several days in a row of non-stop rain, it was too cold to wear wet sneakers on a shopping trip.  I slipped my prescription orthotics into a pair of reasonably comfy flats, and set out shopping on Saturday.  What a mistake!

Let me back track a little and explain.

I had put off shopping for a family member’s birthday as long as possible because of the inflammation in my joints for the past couple of weeks.  Now, my time was gone to buy some other gifts I also needed, so Saturday was my last available chance to shop for them.

cc 2009/10/designer-spotlight-brittny-lejeune.html

Gift Shopping on Sore Feet

Before I was finished shopping at the first store, my feet were hurting and the back top edge of my shoes was riding too low on my heel because of the orthotics.  The shoe back was pressing into the back of my aching Achilles tendons, and very soon I could hardly take another step.  My feet were not going to last the afternoon without some serious intervention!

As soon as possible, I finished up quickly at the first store and then hobbled to my car to drive to the nearest Kohl’s department store.  I had only one mission in mind to do first – I would buy some new, comfortable shoes before destroying my tendons in what I was wearing.  I was determined that giving up on the shopping trip was just not an option! I thought, maybe I could also find something that looked better than sneakers to wear to work on lupus flare days.

Let me give a little more background.

butterfly on foot 2

Lupus Patient who shredded
her Achilles tendons

I know a lupus patient who shredded her inflamed and swollen Achilles tendons when she was in lupus flare several years ago.  Now, she is wheelchair bound without hope of repair for her ruined tendons.  Then, a few years ago I shredded one of my own Plantaris tendons where it branched off the Achilles tendon in my right calf.  At the time, I had been in a lupus flare and was performing some mildly athletic activity.  Unfortunately, I forgot to consider the risk of tendon injury during flare.  Then a couple of years ago, I came within a few steps of shredding the tendons in my heel while walking back and forth between the hotel and events at a legal conference in Boston.

Therefore, now, I am very, very careful when my tendons are swollen or sore.

Achilles tendon injury
Photo Credit

By the way, shredding an Achilles or Plantaris tendon is suddenly and excruciatingly painful.  While my torn Plantaris tendon hurt a great deal and grounded me for a couple of days, I understand that an Achilles tendon is much, much worse.  When the Achilles rips, it has been said to feel like a gun shot in the calf.  Plantaris tendons are optional, but Achilles tendons are essential when it comes to walking.  Since I like being able to walk, I really like the idea of keeping my remaining leg tendons as healthy and whole as possible.


Ultra-light, comfy and supportive

So, my Saturday shopping goal was achieved before the afternoon was over.  First, I found the new pair of shoes that helped me finish the rest of my procurement mission.  I found a pair of Sketchers Go Walk slip on shoes that are now my new favorites.  They were a little more pricey than I would have liked, but are light as a feather, and are amazingly comfortable and supportive.

I have even worn them to work for the past two days.  I think they have contributed to the improvement and healing of my sore foot and ankle tendons, because tonight, my feet and legs are much less painful.

Finding suggestions for reasonable lupus accommodations

Walking today with little pain

Today, I walked between buildings across the campus of my workplace without hurting my feet and ankles, and was even able to keep up with my associate as we crossed the plaza. For the past three days, my feet have been better than they were at the beginning of my Saturday afternoon shopping expedition, or for that matter, at any time in the past two to three weeks.  What a relief!

Tonight, I sit here as a much more comfortable and happy sometimes pedestrian.

[Note:  The product endorsement contained in this post is unsolicited and completely uncompensated.]

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