Foot Doctor’s Advice: Wear Boots

For the past several months, my left heel has been hurting a lot when I take the first few steps when I rise from bed, and later in the evening, close to bedtime. The morning pain has been sharp and quite irritating, but it subsides soon enough.

I knew something was wrong, though, when the pain persisted. I’m no dummy… I figured I had plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of a tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball.

I was being a general goofball guy, hoping it would go away, while concentrating on getting my partner over his long-term illness. Now that my partner is feeling better (not recovered, but better than before), I thought that now was a good time to see a doctor and get this problem addressed.

First, I dutifully made an appointment with my primary care doctor, who is the same doctor that my partner has been seeing. My doc did a full physical, and I’m happy to report that I am generally healthy, and don’t have a problem with cholesterol or blood pressure. In fact, my BP is still on the low side. (Helps explain why I can remain calm when everyone else goes nuts.)

My doc agreed that I had something going on with my foot, and referred me to a foot specialist, who I saw yesterday. That doctor confirmed plantar fasciitis in my left foot. He suggested an injection with cortisone to reduce inflammation. I advised him that I have donated a kidney to my sister, and my nephrologist (kidney doc) advised not to be exposed to cortisone or take any other anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxin (found in Motrin, Advil, or Aleve). Those drugs are hard on the kidneys for a normally healthy person, and could really wreak havoc on my one remaining kidney. So no drugs! (perhaps with the exception of Excedrin, which is a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. Works great for me, especially on headaches.)

The doc made plaster casts of both of my feet, and will arrange to have orthotic devices made that I will insert into my boots and which will hold my foot in place so as not to aggravate the heel and allow it to recover.

While he was doing that, he asked, “what kind of shoes do you wear?” Seeing a pair of boots lying on the floor….

I pointed and said, “I wear boots like those. I ride a motorcycle and wouldn’t wear anything other than boots for my protection.”

The doctor sat back, drew a breath, and I was waiting for him to say something not-so-good about wearing boots, but instead, he surprised me. His response was, “I’m glad you don’t wear sneakers or sandals. Those things are hard on the feet — especially flip-flops. You can’t imagine the number of cases of infections I have had to deal with on people who wear flip-flops. Sneakers generally aren’t that much better. Few sneakers provide enough support for the foot, especially at the ankle to keep it firmly upright. Sneakers may support the arch, but don’t support the ankle like boots do. I’m glad to know that you wear boots. Let me look at them.”

Then he picked up my Chippewa Harness boots that I had been wearing — I selected to wear them for this visit because they are very easy to slip on and off, as well as the fact that they are comfortable.

He examined the boot as closely as he examined my foot. Then he floored me once again by saying, “these are great boots. I can tell that they’re well made and provide excellent support for your feet and ankles. Keep wearing them.”

After I picked up my jaw from the floor, all I could say was, “sure, doc. I will.”

Life is short: wear boots!

13 thoughts on “Foot Doctor’s Advice: Wear Boots

  1. Only you… only you… could find a foot doctor who “prescribes” wearing boots.

    I love you, brother, as only a twin could, but I have to admit, I only wear boots when I visit you and we ride motorcycles together.

    Oh well, as you say, you got the “jeans genes” and I got the “suit genes”.

    Ore e sempre,


    • Don’t forget, J, I got you a pair of nice-looking dressy black boots to wear with that pair of leather pants that you bought in Italy. Even your wife thought that look was impressive.

      Ore e sempre,

      Your big brother

  2. I am a librarian by profession. When I was the head of circulation at a university library I was having all sorts of issues with my feet. After seeing the foot doctor he told me I had to wear cowboy boots because of the support they had. He was so right. I am still a librarian but broken my foot/ankle a couple of years ago. I can only get my foot into either side zip boots or loafers. Miss the cowboy boots!

    • I broke my ankle (fib) a couple years ago myself. Ouch! I know how that hurts. Physical therapy got me back into my boots after three months in a cast. I hope you can eventually return to wearing the cowboy boots you love.

  3. Thanks for the good info about your consultation -and agree with the recommendation that boots provide good protection for the foot and leg and also arches. Do you find any difference in boots for their arch support? My Wescos seem to be the best for me for walking and feeling good support –

    • Paul, my Wesco boots fit the foot well; however, they are just so darned hot. I can’t wear them in summer heat. Sure, I notice a difference in arch support in some boots. Cheap cowboy boots are about the worst, followed by Chinese-made Harley boots.
      But good-quality boots made in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, all work well for me.

  4. BHD, that’s great news.

    Did the doctor differentiate between cowboy boots and loggers, linemans, Bosses?

    • No, my podiatrist didn’t distinguish between different styles of boots (he’s a physician, not a true “bootman”). He recommended boots that were rather stiff, so my foot would be held in a neutral, or L-shape position, and not flex that much. He said that not flexing it a whole lot would enable my PF to heal sooner.

  5. Finally, real confirmation on the danger of wearing flip-flops! I haven’t worn them since I was in elementary school and for good reason. They aren’t good for your feet at all. Yet walking around NYC today as I was, that was almost the only thing one could see being worn by visitor and resident alike. Even some biker-types wore them. Yikes!

    Maybe a good public service awareness campaign would do the trick? I can’t imagine what the podiatry profession must think of all those ‘tooties’ in flip-flops.

    • I agree, though I doubt any public awareness campaign would convince importers of cheap Chinese flip-flops from marketing them to the unaware who do not realize how unsightly and unsanitary those things are, not to mention how bad flip-flops are for the feet. I cringe when I see guys wearing them, especially on Darwin-Award contenders who have the audacity and stupidity to wear them with shorts while riding a motorcycle.

  6. I have a pair of Frye 12R harness boots that are my everyday choice of footwear. They’re unbelievably comfortable even in the summer months and they look so darn good.

    I had always wanted a pair of harness boots or campus boots when I was younger, but I always ended up with just tennis shoes. I can tell you that there is no tennis shoe that I’ve ever worn that can equal the comfort, looks and incredibly durability of my harness boots. And in this fourth decade and a half of my life, I wish I would’ve worn these boots when I was younger.

    I’m one of the numerous people who can’t stand those hideous flip-flops. They’re so friggin’ ugly! Ugly and spindly looking. There’s nothing worse than going into a restaurant and having to look at group of unsightly flip-flop clad feet. For the life of me I don’t know what the attraction is to those ugly shoes. If you can even call them shoes! What started the stupid trend of flip-flop wearing anyway? And what’s really pathetic is that some “designer” flip-flops cost almost as much or even more than a quality pair of harness boots!

    Well, it’s not just the egregious flip-flops that I detest, it’s guys wearing any kind of sandal. I don’t want to look at some dudes poorly maintained feet! If you want to wear those things to the beach, the poolside or just lounging around the house then fine.

    Here’s something else I can’t make heads or tales out of either: why do those nasty looking, flimsy looking, german made Birkenstock sandals cost so much? I paid $160.00 for my Frye harness boots and I’ve seen those Birkenstock sandals selling for more than that! All that money for a goofy looking leather and cork sandal?!!!

    There’ll never be any other type of footwear that I’d wear other than my harness boots. I did try on some really nice Lucchese cowboy boots a few months ago and they felt really good and looked great too.

  7. My 2 cents.

    Devoted cowboy boot wearer here.

    My hip has been bugging me since I got off a horse wrong.
    And now my right foot feels different in my boot. More pressed against the instep than before, and I am supinating (rolling my foot inward) when I walk,

    So I’m making an appt. with my PCP who will send me to PT or have me see an orthopedist.

    I’m scared that the ortho will say, NO MORE BOOTS. That would just make me so sad…

    Can they make orthotics to fit in cowboy boots?

    I have a confession — it has been too damn hot at the end of this summer so I have been wearing my beat-up old sandals. BAD CHOICE. I think that has led to this bout of pain.

    AND I THREW my flip-flops out.

    We’ll see what happens.

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