Primal Feet First: Part II... the Feet.
Having RSD/CRPS for all of these years has provided some challenges. Well, lots of challenges. But a one of the major challenges has always been shoes.
RSD makes ones nerves extremely sensitive to irritation, and any perceived irritation is immediately magnified x1000 and turned into a state of crisis and panic by the faulty wiring within my head, and then carried on for much longer than believable by the looping nature of the wiring difficulty.
I came to hate shoes. Truly loathe them. I spent ridiculous amounts of money on 'properly fit' supportive athletic walking shoes in top end shops. Then spent even more money to add custom orthotic inserts to them to further support my poor aching agitated foot. I was assured that these steps would help to alleviate my pain. It did not. Sometimes I tried to participate in the 'cute shoe' world of women. These attempts failed as miserably as the athletic shoes. I had a closet full of shoes that could be worn from the door, to the car, kicked off the right foot in the car, put back on at destination, worn at social/public area to be civilized, to car, kicked off in car with gasps of relief... slipped on to get back into the house only if it was rainy. Inside my home, or if not absolutely necessary I would wear NO shoes.
Gradually I came to realize that the less support a shoe had, the less it tended to irritate me. I became the queen of the FLAT shoe. Chuck Taylor-ish mary jane styles, and Gravis slip-on skate shoes were my friends. Still, they were not perfect, but at least they were less evil. Wearing them I wasn't irritated to madness, but it did grate at my nerves enough that I had constant foot pain, a pronounced limp even on my best days, my right foot tended to turn in a bit, and I dragged it slightly. I thought that was as good as it would get. That that condition was just normal for me because of my condition.
Then, one faithful day more than two years ago my newly acquired GSD chewed my favorite Gravis pink, brown, and avocado hounds-tooth wool slip-ons past wearing. Gasp! I tried to find a replacement in the interwebs but was rebuffed at every turn. But in my meanderings I spied something strange, and read about it... they were Vibram Fivefingers. I was intrigued. I thought, why not?
Off I went to the closest local place that could fit me in these strange things, tried some on (yes they felt weird at first), and walked out with a pair of brown kangaroo suede "bear paws" on my feet. I came home and the husband looked down and said "What the hell...", to which I replied "Don't worry, I know they look odd. I'll only wear them when I'm going to school or running errands without you". Two weeks later I looked him straight in the eye and said "I don't care. I'm not wearing 'shoes' anymore". And since that day I haven't. I threw away an obscene number of conventional shoes.
It took a little while to adjust fully to the Vibram Fivefingers. As I wore them and walked in them I could feel my feet, especially my right foot, become sore in a whole new way but my nerves were not aggravated. Muscles in my feet, weak from years of support and disuse, became sore. Tendons too stretched and ached; ohhh those tendons in the right foot! But little by little the benefits of making that change to VFFs became apparent. I walked with my foot a little straighter, with a little less limp, and with a little less pain until finally my foot is always straight, my limp only shows up on the worst of my days, and while I will always have a nerve disease which affects that right foot/leg etc. I now know that living with the intense daily aggravation of that disease is not necessary.
Vibram Fivefingers have truly changed my life.