When Boots Help You Heal

A Texas man’s boots help him walk after a head injury, and his physical therapist finds relief when she buys her own pair.

By Joy DiazMarch 28, 2019 1:07 pm, ,

A great pair of boots can help make anyone wearing them feel like they’re standing just a little bit taller. But Felita Callahan from Humble, Texas, says boots can do a lot more than that.

Callahan says she’s seen firsthand how boots can have healing powers.

When Callahan was younger, she wanted to be a nurse. But she discovered physical therapy when her father had had to get treatment for an injury.

“I actually thought it was a specialty of nursing,” Callahan says. “I found out physical therapy was a whole profession, and so, I switched.”

Callahan had graduated from the University of Maryland and was working as a physical therapist, helping people recover from stroke and other physical trauma. She was treating one client at the time, a young, Texan man, who had suffered a head injury.

“He had these striking blue eyes like Paul Newman or Steve McQueen, “ Callahan says. “We were trying to help him walk again.”

Most of her clients wore sneakers – shoes that would give them good support while they went through therapy. But her Texan client refused.

“I need my boots,” he would say.

So Callahan asked the man’s wife to bring his boots to physical therapy. When he put them on, he transformed, Callahan says.

“We put his boots on and he stood up and he walked in those parallel bars, and it was amazing,” Callahan says. “His boots were made for walking.”

That experience inspired Callahan to eventually get her own pair of red cowboy boots; her father bought them for her on her last birthday. And they’ve been healing for her, too, just like they were for her former client. Callahan lives with diabetes, and the neuropathy that comes with it can make it painful to walk. The boots give her a boost of confidence and a magical sense of relief.

“I’m telling you, when I wear my boots, it’s an amazing thing: my feet don’t hurt,” Callahan says. “There may be some healing in there, in those boots.”

Written by Caroline Covington.