Celebrate Happy Feet Day

Hallmark has us hooked. We celebrate every Day from All Fools to Groundhog’s to Columbus, a real misnomer, showing gratitude for everything except what we take most for granted – our feet. I propose we give our tootsies a holiday and declare Happy Feet Day.

Imagine the pressure those little bones endure everyday hauling our carcass around, not to mention those extra pounds we’ve been lugging since last Thanksgiving.

Good feet are gifts from above. I should know; I was not gifted.

I used to tell friends that I wore baby casts on each toe after my feet got run over by a truck. One look at my crooked toes and they believed my harebrained story.

My feet plagued me from the day I took my first steps. I went to a podiatrist, long before anyone knew what a podiatrist was. Good ol’ Dr Heffelfinger or Heffle”toe,” as we fondly called him. He explained that my big toe was shorter than the rest of my toes. To avoid face planting every step forward, I clawed the ground with my toes.

My grandma told me that having a second toe longer than the first one is a sign of intelligence and insight. My dad, however, swore I’d hang from trees by my toes and threatened to prove it, if I broke another window playing ball in the yard.

To make matters worse, I developed Ledderhose Disease, a thickening of the deep connective tissue, leading to nodules in the arches of my feet. Though a nuisance, the disorder, named after a German surgeon, Dr. Georg Ledderhose, triggers fond memories of my time living in Germany.

Yep, those 26 bones, 33 joints, 12 tendons, and umpteen muscles stretch like a suspension bridge over our arches, but get no credit. Feet carry the weight of the world and live in shoes – the most uncomfortable homes on earth. Women’s footwear – back breaking, toe crushing, pointed high heels – keep doctors rolling in dough for life.

Born with bad feet, I swore off fashion in my teens and worn tennis shoes everyday since then. I also wear orthotics. To prevent blisters between my toes, I bandaged every one until my French podiatrist solved the problem. He molded toe separators out of pink silicone. Now I wear silly putty between my phalangies.

While studying my off-balance, barefoot gait he declared, “Madame, you have no feet; you are walking on another pair of hands.”

According to leading sport podiatrist Dr. Murray Weisenfeld in The Runner’s Repair Manual, feet were never designed for walking or running. Feet evolved out of the fin of fish designed for swimming and later developed for grasping to let creatures squat on branches without falling out.

Don’t believe me read Christopher McDougal’s fascinating bestseller Born to Run, where he studies a hidden tribe of the world’s fastest, long distance runners, who race barefoot or in sandals.

So, go on. Don’t feel guilty. Give your tootsies a holiday. Kick off the heels. Forgo weight bearing tasks. Doing dishes, a no no. Cooking, over a hot stove, out of the question. Standing in line to buy groceries, pay bills, pump gas – absolutely forbidden. Lying on a couch and wiggling toes to smooth jazz is highly recommended. Mud baths are fine. Hot tubs excellent. Swimming supreme.

You really want to show appreciation for your feet? Walk barefoot across the grass in a sunbeam’s shadow. A card of praise in the mail would be nice too.

Posted in health, humor.


  1. Hahaha, love your sense of humour, which danced across the webpage. It’s amazing that you ever became an athlete with such feet ???? It just shows how you can overcome health issues if your determination and passion are strong enough ????????????????❤️ My ‘dancing feet’ are pretty healthy after so many years of being forced into pointe shoes. Just two enlarged toe joints to contend with, which limit my summer strappy sandal choices. A small price to pay in the scheme of things ???? xxx

    • Rachael I used to admire your gracefulness and balance, so I always knew you had great feet. Not sure how you ever squeezed into those ballet shoes, my lovely dancing feet friend, but it seems that sure hasn’t cramped your style.

  2. Pat, I’m absolutely thrilled to find someone who’s feet make me appreciate my own! I’ve been complaining about my bunions and toes for a long time now. Sure, I was an idiot to buy into those high heeled pumps and narrow toe boxes for as long as I did, but I’ve since seen the light. Sneakers, sandals, flats, and barefoot are now my footwear of choice. I guess the thing is, we’re both fortunate to be able to get around despite our toes not winning any beauty pageant!

    • One look at my toes will do the trick and help make anyone appreciate their own two feet. But you are right, these ol’ tired, crooked toes have carried me many miles so for that I am grateful.

  3. I wish EVERY day was Happy Feet Day so I could go barefoot! Shoes are cursed! Long live feet–beautiful or not so beautiful! LOL :0)

  4. Oh Pat! You truly crack me up. I have to say your foot photo captures it all. They look even worse than when we were together in Switzerland. I guess time doesn’t help matters. It IS amazing you have been able to overcome the balance issues and be such a great athlete. Life has really thrown you some challenges and you always seem to tackle them with great humor, wise insights, and grace. Keep on keepin’ on, my friend and go as long as possible. And you didn’t even mention all the hiking you just accomplished. I don’t know how you kept up. You go, Girl!

    • Thanks Tinie. Like I have said before in my next life, I am going to be a fish. Thank goodness for water where I escape my aches and pains and go shoeless. As long as I can still laugh, love, and live, I will keep dancing. And you do know how I enjoy tearing up the dance floor with family and friends! ha

  5. Dear Pat, when I saw the fingers and toes of my newest granddaughter, I pictured my first college roomie! I thought and said to my daughter that 5.7 lb. Simona will become a basketball player or volleyball player. Becky sighed, but I am confident in this prediction because I lived with your feet! At her 8th grade graduation she will tower above her height challenged parents and sister……just you wait.
    I’m glad you can put those feet up!!

    • Awww this is so sweet. Congratulations on your newest granddaughter. My grandmother always told me that with my long fingers, I should play the piano, but I could never sit still long enough to learn. I do hope that Simona will one day enjoy playing a team sport, but hopefully her toes will never grow as crooked as mine.

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