For years everyone just assumed I was lazy. I would go to parks and things with my family and before anyone else, my feet would start hurting. I couldn't ice skate because it hurt my feet and ankles, so I would just sit in the snow bank with my skates on and watch my family members skate. Same with skiing. I was in sports in high school and regularly complained of shin pain. Running was out of the question. I'll be honest, I have always been overweight. Everyone just assumed I was lazy.
I have strange feet. My arches are in a weird point between regular and low. I have orthotics that I have to wear. I am missing a bone in one of my toes. There are a slew of other issues. The last time I saw my podiatrist he saw my feet and said, "Ah. You're the one with the messed up feet. I'm surprised you don't have more problems than you do."
I didn't get my orthotics until after high school. At the time they were just resin casts for my arches and heels with leather and foam for padding. I remember the first time I wore them was like magic. I could feel everything readjusting. I also remember the first time I tried walking without them. I was upstairs in the house and I tried walking down stairs. My shins rebelled and the pain was like flames. Since I got my orthotics, it has been a lot of trial and error. At first the orthotics caused blistering on the bottoms of my feet and on my heels. Measures were taken to fix that; the leather and foam was extended to cover the entire bottoms of my feet. Then the blistering was localized to the balls of my feet, which makes it very difficult for walking. Measures were taken to fix that; a small foam pad was inserted in the middle of the foot between the leather and the orthotics. That's how far we've gotten.
I've had the orthotics for a few years now and I have reached a point where I can walk comfortably in sandals for a couple hours without my orthotics. For the most part, I can't wear shoes without them. When the leather degrades, I can tell. There is currently a crack where the ball of my foot lands. It has caused some fairly bad blisters and for the last couple days, walking has been difficult.
This isn't just about my feet. As many of you know, if something is off with your feet, the rest of your body feels it. Because of my feet, I get pain in my knees, hips, and back. I recently tried the couch to 5k program and finished it. I ran 3 miles, it was glorious, but I also injured myself in the process. I'll give you two guesses how that injury occurred. Yep, it was because of the way I was stepping. My feet strike again.
So, for the record: I am not lazy. I would love nothing more than to run without pain. I take long walks almost every day, I lift weights, and do other activities. I am trying to get into running again, but it hurts.
All I ask is that the next time you start thinking someone is lazy, you check yourself. You don't know what is going on with the other person.
A note to parents: If your child regularly complains that their feet hurt when walking or skating... take note. Get their feet checked. It's never fun to not be able to do activities and fun things with your friends.