A pair of pumps left me on crutches for weeks.
In my late teens I was an avid high-heel wearer. While I never quite mastered the art of walking in them effortlessly, they dressed my outfits up to the nines and elongated my legs, so I enjoyed sporting them out of vanity. The thing about my high-heel fetish was that it wasn’t exactly healthy. Despite looking fab in my shiny, strappy numbers, I almost always ended up coming home bare foot, heels in hand, after a night out on the town because my feet were swollen and sore.
On my 19th birthday I purchased a pair of 6-inch, black peep-toes to wear with my party dress. I don’t recall them ever being comfortable, even when I was trying them on, but I remember feeling right on trend, so I eagerly slipped them on anyway, willing them to wear in quickly.
About an hour after heading out that night, my toes started to cramp up. Being the party girl I was, I chose to ignore it and soldiered on. As the celebrations carried on, I tried to forget about the world of grief my heels were giving me. But, eventually it came to the point where my feet were throbbing so much it was as if they had a pulse of their own. So, with great annoyance – and basically no choice – I finally called it a night. Yet again, I headed home bare foot, heels in hand. However, this time was different. This time, I had to be carried home.
Dangling from the ends of my legs like stars of a horror movie, my feet were red raw, partially bruised and covered with blisters so vile they resembled cigarette burns. It was, to date, one of the most painful things I had ever experienced, and unfortunately it didn’t stop there.
Over the next 48 hours, what I later learned was an infection, began to set in around my inflamed skin, which graduated to a sickly green tinge and started to ooze. Terrified, I hot-footed it to the doctor’s office. Once inside the clinic, my feet were immediately dressed by the surgery nurse. As she bathed my battle wounds in medical grade disinfectant, I sat on the bed sobbing in excruciating pain and disbelief. After much wincing and biting down on hard objects, I was sent home with a two-week course of antibiotics and advised not to wash my feet for over a week to prevent further infection.
I was mortified and humiliated. How had a harmless night of fun in heels turned into such a nightmare? To make matters worse, I was instructed to use crutches and keep off my feet where possible, so had to take a week off work to recover. Imagine trying to explain to your male boss you’re not coming in because your feet are infected from a pair of high-heels. Let’s just say he was quick to request a medical certificate.
Nowadays I refrain from wearing heels. Straps are out of the question, bandaids are always on hand, and if my feet start to hurt even in the slightest, my shoes are off faster than you can say ‘green oozing infection’.
While I’ve been lucky to escape the experience fairly unscathed, I haven’t missed the message: sometimes beauty genuinely isn’t worth the pain.
Images via Shutterstock and answers.com