My friend Morton

There’s nothing quite like living out your rockstar fantasy at the House of Blues — and then having that glorious night followed by a foot appointment the next day where you’re diagnosed with something that no chick ever wants to hear.

And by “you” I mean me.

While I’m generally a fan of my 30s, I can say that I’m not fond of falling apart. Last Christmas, it was meniscus repair and microfracture surgery on the ol’ knee. A couple of months later, after experiencing tingling and weakness in my left arm/wrist/hand/etc., the diagnosis was a bruised ulnar nerve. Today, I come to find out that my body (the right foot, to be exact) is a vehicle for a condition called Morton’s neuroma.

The official explanation is that it’s an injury to the nerve between the third and fourth toes that causes thickening and pain. (Ew.) The bottom line, however, is the oh-so-important “what does this mean to me?” part of the equation.

No more cute shoes. That’s what it means.

Not that I’ve ever had the cutest selection, but dang…if a girl’s gonna be diagnosed with a foot malady, I’d at least love to have a closet full of adorable footwear to be able to blame. Alas, I have only boring, office-oriented footwear that’s apparently been too tight for too long. The occasional studded heel and strappy sandal has been donned before — don’t get me wrong. They’re just not an everyday occurrence. Despite El Neuroma de Morton, however, I’m pretty sure I’ll still bust out a sassy heel once or twice a year.

The doctor liked my flip-flops (go Rainbows). They’re the dude ones and are uber-thick, wide and he liked how my feet didn’t spill off of either side. (Note to self: try to get a doctor’s note to be able to wear Rainbows to work.)

He had me stand up on a piece of paper, then drew the outline of my right foot. He had me step back and told me that if any shoes I buy from here forward don’t cover the outline that he drew, I shouldn’t buy them.

(Another note to self: consider sending back the four pairs of shoes my friends at Zappos just sent. OK, done considering.)

I had orthotics made last fall, and they’re…gross. I feel like I should be 55, not 35. They currently only fit in a clunky, wide-width athletic shoe, and I can’t very well wear those to work. My options?

Aside from the steroid shot I could’ve gotten on the spot (I declined), there aren’t many more. Crocs (I think the only person who’d find me attractive would be Mario Batali), Vans (cute, but…for the workplace…? We’ll see…), Naturalizer (even their ‘Wide’ width doesn’t seem to want to fit the orthotics), and probably other brands like Clarks, Born, Merrell, Ecco, Softspots, bleh.

I visited a site called PlanetShoes.com a while ago, and…why does a comfort-oriented shoe have to be so ugly? If I wanted to redesign my whole wardrobe around a shoe, I suppose they could work…many look appropriate for hippies, and there’s a plethora of shoes that appear to be shaped like a duck’s bill. The hippie ones have crazy-ugly patterns. I mean, I’m all for patterns — but, like…on throw pillows, or fabric on a chair cushion. But a cool pattern does not always a desirable shoe make.

Same goes for the styles’ names. Bumble bee. Lollipop. Spring Step. Boulevard. Hope. Passion. A lovely name does not a lovely shoe make.

Better yet are the prices that these horrendous things command. Almost $200? Some doctor somewhere is telling a patient that it’s a small price to pay when compared to surgery or years of shots being jammed into your foot and injected into that nerve. And I will say that I’m sure he’s right. But forking over a wad of cash for an ugly shoe just doesn’t make this any easier of a pill to swallow.

That aside, I did a quick Google image search for “Morton’s neuroma,” and was met with icky images of surgeries where thickened tissue was in the process of being removed, as well as pictures of other foot woes: funky toes where they all curl up over each other, hammer toes, toes marred by scars from surgeries past — as well as surgeries gone bad…it’s enough to make me want to go barefoot the rest of my life. Although then I’d be escorted out of restaurants, and anywhere else they require footwear. Sheesh. The nerve.

(Get it? Nerve?)

Complaints aside, all of those images reminded me of how good my bad feet really have it. Things could be so much worse. I hope they never get to wherever “worse” is, but I suppose at the end of the day I’ll gladly wear boring flats the rest of my life than inch closer to foot gnarlidom via inches under my heel. Tonight I am thankful for my feet, and I pray they have it in them to continue our walk together through life.

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