We’re now at the F post in this series, and if I’m honest I didn’t know what to write about. I’ve talked a lot about my feet,
but for those of you who don’t know about them, they are very affected by my CP, as is the rest of my body.
I have always liked the fact I have small feet, the smallest in my family (around a UK size 4/5, US 6/7).
This brings me onto a topic I love: shoes. I find shoes in my size are often on sale because of the small size.
Years ago, I was always advised by Emma, my then-PT, to wear trainers/sneakers as she said they’d support my feet better. My last answer was “No way, I love shoes too much to just wear trainers.”
I thought of the carers who just wanted to dress me in joggers because they thought it was more comfortable. Until I said “No, I’d rather wear jeans or a skirt.” I insisted although they said joggers made their job easier when dressing me.
(Pro Tip: for anyone who needs help from a carer or someone else to get dressed: get the person to hide anything you don’t want to wear in a drawer or harder-to-reach part of the closet).
Get them to leave the clothes you pick somewhere in your bedroom so that the carer can see them straight away. This saves them going through your closet/wardrobe looking for something for you to wear and avoids them making a decision for you).
I thought this solution up as carers would rummage through my clothes and not leave them tidy.
Going back to the physiotherapy session with Emma, I remember she took my feet in her hands one by one and told me I had very high foot arches and needed thick soles even though I’m sat in my wheelchair. I thought “Yes, I agree, a lady needs comfort.” In reality, I didn’t say anything because having my feet and legs picked up and touched is painful as my muscles are so tight.
I didn’t have anything new like what she was suggesting, so guess what? That meant mum and I got a SHOPPING TRIP!
So off we went into the center of Oxford, one of the nearest large places with a good shopping area nearest to where I grew up. The City of Dreaming Spires has pretty good shops.
We went to the nearest sports shop. I didn’t find anything I liked until I saw them….white trainers with a magenta insole and magenta and lilac sole with magenta details on the shoe.
I didn’t care how they were going to be kept clean, I just wanted them.
Next, we went to the Sketchers store. These are my first choice when trainers are concerned, as they have amazing, unique styles. I have some black ones with silver glitter and a slight wedge heel- there’s no way I was going to wear them for PT (but I still love those shoes).
I found some nude beige ones with 3 stripes on each side of the shoe. Each stripe is a metallic colour: silver, bronze and gold. It was love at first sight with these shoes and they were on sale.
I have worn them so much ever since. They look amazing with my dark wash jeans.
After we bought the trainers we went home. I showed the PT the trainers in the next session and she said the Sketchers ones were better because of the thick sole. They both seemed OK in my opinion as they both had thick soles.
Putting on my shoes and socks and dressing in general as well as tying shoelaces is something that I can’t do. I have some shoelaces that are like a coil so you don’t even have to tie them. I only have one pair and would like to get more. They are for people with disabilities who can’t tie shoelaces and I think they’re a really good invention.
On to the medical side of things. I have a lot of spine. hip ankle and foot deformities.
My hips and pelvis are turned in at strange angles and that means that my knees and feet are too.
I have a “pelvic obliquity ” which means the angles of my pelvis are different from each other (my pelvis is higher on the left than the right and my spine curves to the left to try to compensate).
As my pelvis is not straight, I can’t sit straight no matter how hard I try to do so, and I wear myself out trying to do so.
I also have Scoliosis (curvature of the spine), Kyphosis (a hunched-forward posture and rounded shoulders) and Lordosis (a larger than normal curve in my lumbar spine) meaning I can’t sit all the way back in my wheelchair.
I have a hip rotation of 60% on my left side and 30% on my right (called a “fixed rotation deformity”) . In medical terminology, my hips are “subluxated,” which means that they are half dislocated.
Surgery was considered to reduce the rotation from my hips to my feet but was ruled out. More as to why in my S post.
I have a 1cm difference in length (which doctors call a” leg length discrepancy” between my left leg and my right one which used to be 3cm, but fortunately has evened itself out as I’ve grown which was what my doctors hoped would happen.
The posture of my hips, feet and legs as well as that of the rest of my body, cause fatigue and pain. More about posture in the P post in my series.
I did actually have braces (Ankle Foot Orthoses or AFOs which supported my ankles, feet and legs) and orthopaedic shoes (Piedro Boots) for some years when I was little to try to position my feet and legs better. but I really didn’t like the shoes because they were very heavy on my feet.
See this post for an idea of what they looked like: https://justkatherineblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/my-legs/
The boots were a nice red colour but that was the only thing I liked about them. They were not my favourite shoes at all. The braces had Velcro on them and rubbed against my skin, irritating it.. They were really itchy and hot in warm weather.
Do I have some shoes that I love? You may ask. Well yes I do. I also have some ones with heels. My wedding shoes were black and had a block heel and a small ankle strap. I also have some ankle boots because I love boots. I have black ones, brown ones and even burgundy ones with a gold block heel. When we were in the store looking at the burgundy ones, my husband asked me “Do you really like those and are you sure you’re going to wear them?”.
My answer was “Yes!“. And I have.
In terms of clothes, I have some long skirts but mostly trousers/ pants. I find it hard to buy clothing sometimes because of it looking good from a seated position, but I do have many clothes I love. I know there are websites for wheelchair clothing but they tend to be located in the US and the prices can be a drawback. I have yet to find somewhere affordable.If anyone reading this has any ideas, for sites that ship to the UK and Europe at good rates and have good quality clothing for wheelchair users at affordable prices, please leave a comment.
Fashion is part of my identity and it makes me feel great.