Yesterday I went to the podiatrist to get my custom-made orthotics. He showed me how to put them in my sneakers and shoes and answered a bunch of my footwear-related questions.

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"fashion" insert

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at least it fits in these suede ankle boots

It was all going pretty well until I asked about wearing heels to a few upcoming weddings. I think he must have taken me for someone who won’t be disciplined about wearing the orthotics, because he launched into a discourse on all the bad things that will happen if I’m not religious about it.

“If you don’t take care of this, it will come back to haunt you,” he said. He whipped out the “arthitis at age 50” card and went so far as to liken my condition to an abusive husband.

“He’s always been a abusive, he’ll always be abusive and,” dramatic pause, “he owns a gun.”

Sheesh. The more I unpack that metaphor, the less I like it. I understand that he means it’s a problem that’s not going to change, but unlike an abusive husband, you can’t leave a foot just because it treats you badly. Also, while it makes sense to treat a foot well and to give it what it wants and needs, the same courtesy should not be extended to an abusive mate. And what’s more, it’s like saying that wearing orthotic shoes is somehow akin to making oneself look less attractive so as not to upset a jealous partner.

While I’m sure he was just trying to drive home a point and maybe even be funny, it just seemed a little off-color.

Okay, end of rant.

When I got home,  I started thinking about how I’m going to make this work. Unfortunately, the inserts fit in very few pairs of my shoes, and a lot of the shoes I have are on the “bad shoe” list as it is. Awesome. I know I should look at cleaning out my modest shoe collection as a fun chance to start over, but I feel a little overwhelmed. The plan is to find two new pairs of shoes—one that I can wear under bootcut jeans/pants, and another I can wear with skirts and dresses.

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Maybe something like these Mary Janes from Dansko?

I’m trying to psych myself up by thinking about how great it is that at least I know what to look for now. Gone are the days of blindly trying to guess what kinds of shoes will and won’t make my feet and legs hurt.

I also spent some time thinking about the role diet plays in pain management and inflammation. I personally think there is some benefit to following a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods and low in foods that tend to increase inflammation, which is part of what causes pain. Inflammation has also been associated with heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and other ailments.

 An anti-inflammatory diet, which is quite similar to the Mediterranean diet, includes a lot of delicious, nurturing foods.

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Fresh fruit and whole grains are two keys to fighting inflammation

Eat plenty of:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Omega-3-rich fish, flax, oils, and nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Spices such as ginger and turmeric

Cut back on:

  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Refined carbohydrates such as white bread
  • Sugar
  • Red meat
  • Full-fat dairy
The most important thing is to eat an adequate diet and maintain a healthy weight. Someone taking an anti-inflammatory medication will experience the effects within a shorter period of time, but in the long-term, a diet rich in foods that fight inflammation may help prevent inflammatory conditions. One of the things that makes it hard for people to get motivated to eat well is that the effects of a healthy diet are not always immediately visible or noticeable. It can be hard for us to think far into the future. It’s important, though! With all the drama life brings, we need to prepare our bodies to deal with it. 
For me, that means that if I have something that makes me more prone to developing arthritis, I want to do everything I can to reduce that risk. Though the anti-inflammatory and Mediterranean-style diets are pretty similar to how I eat anyway, I may try to make an effort to use more spices. Other than that, I guess I’ll just have to keep doing what I’m doing and check back in at 50.

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