The Importance of Good Footwear With MS
As I was looking through my news feed last week, I stumbled upon a pretty exciting announcement. Nike revealed a new shoe called the FlyEase specially designed to be hands-free. The shoe allows you to get into and out of it with ease, yet still provides a secure fit while wearing it.
Exciting news for those who struggle to find footwear
This was extremely exciting news to me as someone who has struggled with footwear throughout my life, but in particular, since I’ve been living with multiple sclerosis. When it comes to our daily lives with MS, our choice of footwear is especially important. Our footwear, and the kind we choose, is our foundation and can have a significant impact on our day.
Problems using my hands
So, my case is a tad unique. In addition to MS, I live with symbrachydactyly, which is a rare congenital defect in my left hand. Essentially, not all of my left hand formed. So, putting on and tying shoes has been an issue for me my entire life. Eventually, I adapted and figured out how to get it done (still, it’s never been easy). Things got more complicated when I got MS though. Suddenly, I started having problems with not only my feet and legs being numb but also my right hand. In fact, in my early exacerbations, I’d lose the ability to use my right hand completely. While that ability came back, I still routinely have issues with it. The myelin around the nerves that help my brain control my right hand still has that damage, which means that anything that triggers my MS symptoms makes using it difficult.
Secure footwear is key for preventing falls
If you’ve read much of my writing, you probably know that I have an issue with falls. Just a few days ago I had a pretty rough fall (I’m still pretty sore from it). Because of my trouble staying vertical, my neurologist has always been super critical of my footwear. I have long been a fan of sandals and flip flops, which, while easy for me to put on (they’ve also been a bit of a life hack for keeping my temps cool, too), don’t exactly provide a great footing for walking. When it comes to MS, you really want a nice and secure set of footwear. While I enjoy my flops, they do have a tendency to fall off, which really complicates trying to walk (not only am I suddenly not even, but there are now obstacles in the way!). With MS, you really need something that won’t easily slip off, but you also need to be able to get into and out of it easily.
The Nike FlyEase
The Nike FlyEase seems like the perfect solution to many of these issues. It appears easy to put on, yet also seems very secure while on your foot. Doesn’t look like it will fall off easily either. Unfortunately, it will only have limited distribution at first. They do say they hope to have broader availability planned for later in the year though. I know I’ll be anxious to try them out as soon as I can. Hopefully, the price doesn’t make them too difficult to obtain.
Other footwear options
In the meantime, I have to admit, I’ve had some great success with Crocs. They are easy to get on and off, and if you buy the proper size and utilize the strap at the back (I like to call this the “action strap!”), they work well. Super comfortable, too! Granted not everyone thinks they are particularly stylish (though I am working hard to change that perception!). There are of course other options, like shoes with velcro instead of laces (those can still be difficult to use too, sometimes that velcro gets really stuck).
How often do you use assistive devices to help manage your MS?