I would not be the first to write about the struggle women with large calves face in the world. It’s a dark, cold, lonely place sometimes. We are shunned, forced to the outskirts of society, and whispered about behind closed doors.
Not really, but it is really difficult to find boots that actually fit.
Ironically, my calves were never a body part I was particularly self-conscious about. I have always battled my weight and struggled with body confidence, but even when I was smaller I had very defined, curvy calves. And I liked them. They made me feel strong. Was probably all that softball I played. It just became a pain in the ass when I grew up and wanted normal things, like tall leather boots. But I couldn’t have them (outskirts of society and all).
And now that I am definitely and completely what you would consider “plus sized” my calves have a little more curve going, if you know what I mean. So now they feel more like an obstacle than a symbol of strength.
I’ve read countless articles and posts about the search for the perfect wide-calf boot, so I’m not going to turn this into a rip-off of one of those. No, what I want to talk about it much more important to me at the moment. It’s the lack of options for us curvy calf ladies when we need it the most. During an injury.
I recently had my second major ankle surgery and was using my old walking cast/boot in an effort to be economical. It didn’t really fit great, as I have relatively small feet (size 8) in relation to my calves (18-19 inches). But I used it last year when I had the surgery and was able to make it work. It was a little worse for wear though and starting to smell. And it’s not exactly something you can just Febreeze out. So I got a new boot from my new surgeon’s office, and they tossed the old one. This new one even has a pump so you can fill it with air to really keep you in place when you start walking (sigh… that’s another month or so away for me). Apparently this Air Jordan technology is what all the manufacturers are using these days… a little digging on Amazon told me so.
So we tried to stuff my BUSTED, RECENTLY OPERATED ON ankle into a boot that is still a little big for my foot, but barely wide enough for me to get my leg into. Considering yesterday was the day I had my stitches out, it didn’t feel great. The way these things are designed is ridiculous, width issue aside. Where the metal cuts in is right where the most common incisions are. Real smooth.
Anyway, we can’t get the damn thing closed, and we can’t go a size up because I’ll trip over something twice as long as my foot when I start walking.
So here is what we get, my curvaceous calf sisters. This is the best they’ve come up with so far.
Problem is, when you slap that piece of Velco on the edge of the existing Velcro strip, guess what you get? A boot that still feels too tight, barely closes, and now has rough, exposed Velcro digging into you when you hoist your broken hoof up onto your little knee scooter/walker (which mind you, is a major step up from the crutches I used last time).
I know, I sound like I’m whining right now. Because I am. I find it totally ridiculous that there isn’t a better option for me. And for the first time in life, my CALVES made me feel inadequate. I starting thinking things like: Maybe my calves are so grotesque, no one else in the history of the world has ever had this problem, otherwise there would be a solution, wouldn’t there? My calves are so fat I can’t even heal correctly from surgery! Oh my god, how embarrassing. And as if that boot wasn’t unfashionable enough, I have this ugly blue Velcro strip announcing to the world – SHE WAS TOO FAT TO FIT INTO A NORMAL PERSON BOOT/CAST SO WE HAD TO MACGYVER THAT SHIT.
It was a rough afternoon.
So I did what any woman having a rough afternoon would do – I went shopping. Well, I went online to see what else I could find. Maybe I’d have to pay out of pocket for a new boot but I was determined to find something. 45 minutes later and even more frustrated, I realized there really ISN’T a better option. The world is not built for large calves. There was ONE boot online with an adjustable calf but it’s new and fancy and not really offered by many doctors offices. I can buy it online for $200. I haven’t committed to making that leap yet, since I’ve recently started receiving medical bills for all the things insurance decided not to cover. But in case you’re interested, it’s the VACOcast and uses different technology than these air casts that are all the rage right now.
So in the meantime, I’ve ordered an extender from VACOcast that looks like it might solve my Velcro on skin problem… so we’ll see if it fits my existing boot and makes me a less grumpy girl.
So the moral of the story is this. If you have wide calves like me, DON’T SHATTER YOUR ANKLE. It’s a bitch to find recovery gear that fits.