A couple of weeks ago I felt a sharp, piercing pain on the ball of my left foot while walking up the stairs barefoot. After it subsided I still couldn’t put pressure on the ball of my foot. For the next day I rested my foot, iced it, and kept it elevated. None of that helped, so I made an appointment with a podiatrist. It was only a few days before I headed into the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale with my clients, which would involve 20,000 steps a day. Not so fab with a sore foot.

I have metatarsalgia. There is no inflammation, fracture, or swelling, which is why what I was doing had no effect. Instead there is compression in the joint of the second metatarsal. Apparently this is not an uncommon condition with feet shaped like mine, which the podiatrist described as extremely flexible with very little padding. Walking on hard surfaces barefoot or with socks is bad for my feet.

Treatment is fairly simple. First, my second toe is taped with Tensoplast adhesive bandage. The tape is unobtrusive, and acts like a supportive ligament. I cannot feel it on my foot at all. Second, I need to wear supportive shoes at home. Luckily I had a headstart knowing which brands work for my feet and which don’t. Third, I must avoid standing on tip toes and other movements that put pressure on the balls of my feet until my foot feels completely better. Fourth, I must avoid uncomfortable shoes.

I bought two pairs of shoes to wear at home only. A pair of ECCO sneakers in white, which the podiatrist approved right away when he saw the outdoor ECCO sneakers I was wearing to the appointment. He recommended I try Dansko footwear, which is usually too wide for my low-volume feet. But I remembered that Dansko has an awesomely supportive house slipper that works for clients with narrower feet. So I got those to try too.

I was wowed. Wearing these shoes at home with the tape soothed some of the pain instantly. By the next day, I was limping less and could walk more easily. A few days later I wasn’t limping at all. A few weeks later and I can comfortably stand on my tip toes, and walk my fast walk. My foot has healed and feels great. My feet did extremely well working with clients during the NAS, as long as I wore my ECCOS. Thank goodness for them!

I use to wear at-home-only sneakers at the start of the pandemic because my feet ached wearing slippers at home on our hardwood floors for long periods of time. That really helped, and I wore through those house sneakers. But as the weather grew hotter and my feet recovered, I complacently went back to wearing soft slippers, footies, or going barefoot at home. I learned the hard way that I MUST wear proper shoes that protect and support my feet at all times. Even at home.