A pair of pumps left me on crutches for weeks.
I’ve been an avid high heel wearer since I was a teenager. While I never quite mastered the art of walking in them effortlessly, I loved the way they dressed my outfits up to the nines and made my legs look a mile long. Call it vanity if you like, but wearing them made me feel good about myself.
The only problem with my high heel fetish was that it wasn’t exactly good for my health. Despite looking amazing in my shiny, strappy numbers, I almost always ended up limping home barefoot, fabulous heels in hand, after a night out on the town left my feet swollen and sore.
Still, I persevered in my devotion to sky-high heels. On my 19th birthday, I purchased a pair of six-inch black peep-toes to wear with my party dress. I don’t recall them ever being comfortable, even when I first tried them on, but I do remember feeling right on trend, so I eagerly slipped them on anyway, determined to break them in quickly.
About an hour after heading out that night, my toes started to cramp up. Being the party girl I am, I chose to ignore it and soldiered on. As the birthday celebrations continued, I tried to forget about the world of grief my heels were giving me. Eventually, though, 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 other choice – I finally called it a night. Yet again, I headed home with my shoes in my hand. However, this time, instead of limping, I actually had to be carried home.
Dangling from the ends of my legs like stars of a horror movie, my feet were raw, red, 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.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.
Over the next 48 hours, an infection started to set in. My inflamed skin slowly graduated to a sickly green tinge and started to ooze. Terrified, I hot-footed it to urgent care, where my feet were immediately dressed by a 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. I was also 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 as much as possible. I 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 note from my doctor’s office.
These days, I refrain from wearing high heels – and straps are out of the question. Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment are always close at hand, and if my feet start to hurt even in the slightest, I kick my shoes off faster than you can say “oozing green infection.”
While I’ve been lucky to escape the experience without long-term damage to my poor, long-suffering feet, the message has come through loud and clear: sometimes beauty really isn’t worth the pain.
Images via Shutterstock and tumblr.com.
Comment: Have you ever injured yourself wearing high heels?