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Heels from Hell

I should know better by now. I wear sneakers or comfortable shoes daily, but of course I had to push the envelope for my cousin’s wedding. Bloated, uncomfortable and angry that nothing I brought home for the wedding looked good I borrowed my stepmom’s heels. I thought wearing the shoes would make me feel better about myself. Boy was I wrong.

Pain is a funny thing. You quickly forget how horrific pain can be – but just like that it comes back and reminds you just how awful it is. I should know better. Since I was diagnosed with RA, I have worn a pair of wedges and a pair of sling back stilettos for fancy occasions. But even on my best days with the most comfortable pair of shoes nothing feels good after standing hours on my feet.

My advice to others is (and to myself is):

Never borrow a pair of shoes – if they aren’t yours, chances are they won’t be comfortable. It’s just not worth it. My entire body hurt for two days after the occasion. I’m 29 and I felt 90.

My advice. No matter how comfortable your shoes are, bring a pair of flats to slip on when or before the pain starts. No need to have heels on the entire night. Nothing is fun if you are in pain.

Trust me. If your pain feels like a knife going through your foot before an occasion you have no business wearing heels in the first place.

Ice is key. For pain, swelling or anything in between ice always helps me.

Moving forward – flats is the way to go. There is no need to spend two days in bed because you thought you had to wear heels. Lesson learned.

In the words of the late fabulous Maya Angelou: “When you know better you do better.” Now I know.

asbRA was diagnosed with RA in November 2012 at the age of 28 and fibromyalgia in 2013. Through therapy and MBSR meditation asbRA found her calling in journaling her experience and is writing a book on how to navigate an RA diagnosis in the prime of one’s life. As a strong advocate in the autoimmune community asbRA shares her wisdom in hopes of helping others.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Leslie Rott moderator
    5 years ago

    I still wear heels, but regret it every time. I’m 4’11” so I think wearing heels, but I’ve started to embrace flats.

  • JoAnn Clarke
    5 years ago

    I chuckled a bit about the “heels” blog-I was 42 when this disease hit me–and I dearly missed my “power heels”. Vanity can be such a strange vice- I now am deduced to wearing comfortable shoes- but soon learned that if you search the web- you can find comfortable, sensible shoes in stylish colors & styles:-) Giving away all of my beautiful leather pumps, ankle-straps, pointed toe boots-was indeed like a “grieving process” similar to the commercial ” what were you before RA and what will you become now”..Chuckle- I have kept one pair of my favorite “Power Heels” hidden in the closet–just in case I go into remission:-)

  • Loretta Tweed
    5 years ago

    Footwear…Usually sneakers in the summer something to protect me from whatever is on the ground and in the winter my boots…With this you just want to not make the pain any worse…

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Ali – Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have “been in your shoes” (haha?) and made decisions where I later looked back and told myself that I should have known better. It can be particularly hard when it comes to decisions that affect our self image! Especially as a young person dealing with RA. But I admire your ability to recognize your limitations and move forward accordingly. Best of luck to you!

  • Ali author
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the kind words Mariah!

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