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Different Pair of Shoes, Same Girl

Once upon a time, my closet was filled with trendy work clothes and sky-high heels in a vast array of colors. Platforms, stilettos, wedges, chunky heels — you name the type, I probably had a pair. As my health deteriorated, I had to downsize my life. This included selling my house and furniture, donating most of my shoes. I could no longer safely wear the shoes because as my Crohn’s disease and Psoriasis intensified, psoriatic arthritis developed in my feet.

Over the past few years, my Psoriasis and Psoriatic arthritis symptoms have improved. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I’ve run out to buy a whole new shoe collection. On the contrary, the majority of my shoes contain memory foam and arch support.

You haven’t lived until your feet are cushioned like you are walking on clouds. Or have you?

My appreciation for shoes hasn’t left. I’ll admire a nice pair whenever and wherever I am. At times, jealousy has crept into the chambers of my heart. Followed by pangs of, it’s not fair. These feelings are okay to admit, and I’d rather acknowledge them than let them fester.

A few months back I was in New York City for a week of meetings. I got into the city a day early to rest and prepare for the week ahead. When I decided to go for a walk on a very brisk day, I couldn’t help but feel those pangs of envy hitting me from all sides. I was surrounded by shoe and department store display windows with their beautiful visuals. And then this woman came out from a subway stop in her red-bottom heels. As I hobbled along in my sleek, yet very-flat tall-boots with orthotic insert inside, here are some of the thoughts that flew through my head:

  • Life is unfair, I wish I could walk comfortably in the city in shoes like that.
  • Is she comfortable?
  • I can only imagine what those shoes would do to my toenails. But they’re so pretty.
  • Could she be dreaming of getting home and taking those darn shoes off?
  • Does she do this walk every day? Roundtrip?
  • I wonder what she does if she suddenly needs to use the restroom? Can she run in those? I would fall and break my face if that happened!
  • How many doctor’s appointment co-pays, insurance premiums, procedure co-pays would a pair of those shoes equal?

These thoughts are my new(ish) reality.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss my high heels and the ability to reach things that are usually out of my reach, because — short girl problems. However, I’m so very grateful for being more healthy than I was when I had to give up my shoe collection. And am equally grateful for being able to inhabit my new set of shoes even if they are flat. There was a point I couldn’t wear shoes at all without an intense amount of pain being involved.

As my symptoms have improved, I’ve ventured out into the world of comfy wedges again. I even managed to find a comfortable pair of platform heels for my wedding reception. And because some of the thoughts mentioned above, like running to the bathroom safely, are nothing new — I had a pair of platform flip flops hidden under our table because I am a KLUTZ. Most days, though, you’ll find me in a pair of orthotic sandals or memory foam sneakers.

So yes — a different pair of shoes, but still the same girl.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie Marie Palumbo moderator
    3 months ago

    I completely feel your pain of adjusting your footwear, Jaime, and I admire your optimistic attitude of being grateful for wearing ANY shoe without pain!

    I used to wear heels every day to work, despite walking many city blocks to get there, and now I look back thinking how silly I was. Comfort is so important, and it seems that designers are creating shoes that are built for both comfort and style 🙂

    I also throw a pair of “Rescue Flats” (look them up!) in my bag when going to a formal event as I do not last in heels while dancing for long. They saved me at my own wedding and are now a staple for all formal events 🙂

    –Julie (Team Member)

  • Jaime H moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi Julie! Rescue Flats are such a great idea!! I didn’t order them because I didn’t know how much stretch they have. When my feet swell, it’s awful to put put on a ballet flat-type shoes. Do they stretch? Asking for my feet. 😀

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