TW3

Age brings aches and pains. I know and accept this. So the sharp pain I started to feel in my heel wasn’t too much of a surprise, and for a couple of weeks I put it down to age, wear and tear and years of hills, mountains and pavements. And then I saw a post on Facebook that made me think again.

I’m not a fan of Dr Internet. Dr Internet never spent time in University learning about medicine (or anything, for that matter) and never passed any exams. So anything I read on Dr Internet I take with a pinch of salt. A large one. I mean, Dr Internet also saturates the ether with cute kittens dressed as puppies or cute puppies dressed as kittens. Imagine if you turned up at your local doctor’s surgery with a festering, rainbow coloured rash only to have your doctor show you videos of a baby hamster fast asleep in the jaws of a tiger cub dressed as a puppy.It’s not the best way to generate confidence.

But this post was from someone I knew. And I mean really knew, not just ‘liked’ a couple of times on social media. I have conversations with her in work, and I’m fairly certain she’s not a figment of my imagination as I’ve seen others talk to her as well. Anyway, the post showed how to apply sports tape to a foot suffering from Plantar Fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the bit of me that forms the sole of my foot and it can be damaged by exercise. I checked on the NHS website and found the symptoms attributed to this condition fitted with what I was experiencing. Suddenly I had a condition (and thank goodness it wasn’t one that was named after me, as those kinds of conditions are inevitably bad). More importantly, I could legitimately apply sports tape to the injury and thereby become a true athlete.

I bought some sports tape and displayed the photo that showed me how to apply it. There was an immediate problem. The foot displayed was the left foot and my sports injury was on my right foot. And I was looking at the foot in the picture from the point of view of someone applying the tape, not the individual whose foot was affected. So there was some mental juggling required to identify which toes the second strip started from and which way around the heel it went. If you’ve ever used sports tape (I have, as I suffer from a proper, real, legitimate sports injury you know), then you’ll know that unlike, say, regular duct tape, it’s very elastic. So after having measured out what I thought I needed for the first strip, I found myself with handfuls of very thin and sticky black tape sticking to everything, including itself.

I had four strips to apply and by the time I was on the second, I was surrounded by backing paper, off cuts of tape, and strips cut to length. My right leg was bent back with my foot twisted to give me the best access to the sole and I think I may have been doing more damage to my knee (its the one I wrote about here) than I was curing my foot. After some struggling, a few words which shocked even Rufus and about 15m of tape, I had a taped up foot.

And I have to admit, it started to feel better quite quickly. It may have been the placebo effect, or it may have been the numbing effect of all that twisting and bending of my knee. But the purpose of the tape was to help support the plantar fascia, relieving some of the pressure and helping it heal. (Ha ha – helping my heel heal ahem), and it seemed to be working as I found walking was less painful. I kept it on for two days (it survived a coupe of showers, being real sports tape for sportsmen with sporting injuries) and while it was never meant to be a cure, it helped lessen the impact of everyday walking.

When I finally took it off, I followed the instructions that came with the tape. Yes, instructions on how to use tape. It said ‘roll off in the direction of the body hair for a less painful experience’. Fortunately, I don’t have hairy feet so I decided to whip the tape off it off in one go after cutting through part of it. It didn’t hurt, but as it was on the sole of my foot, it tickled something chronic.

Last night I attempted to apply more tape, using the lessons I’d learned from the first application. I cut the tape to more accurate sizes and tried to settle into a more comfortable position to apply it. 10 minutes and some more swearing later (Rufus was out of the room), I had one strip of tape that had completely stuck to itself, one bit (the easy bit) on my foot and I was resorting once again to contorting my body to try and reach the appropriate part of my foot with the rest of the tape whilst trying to prevent it from curling up or folding in on itself.

I sort of won in the end.

I took Rufus onto the hills this morning as I think that part of the problem with my foot is that we’ve been doing a lot of walking on pavements recent, and the impact doesn’t help with joints. It felt good to be squelching through the marshy ground this morning as the soft going made our walk pain free. And after nearly three miles on Moel Feity, I removed the tape again and resorted to best cure for sore muscles I know. Soaking in hot water.

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Bl**dy typical

I have trekked to Everest Base Camp twice. I have Climbed Kala Patthar in Nepal at an altitude of 5.5km above sea level. I’ve scaled Ben Nevis twice. I’ve done Snowdon 8 times, including the Crib Goch ridge twice. I’ve done three other Munros, the Carneddau, several Wainwrights and most of the mountains in the Brecon Beacons. I’ve got to the top of Pen y Fan 44 times and Corn Du 35 times.

I’ve completed three Gower Gallops – over 30km each. During the preparation for the treks, I regularly walked 16km a day. In May I hiked 128km. I did 60km in one week with Rufus.

In all that time I haven’t really had any serious injury. For that I’m grateful.

But now I have Housemaid’s Knee! The following space is the space I give you to laugh.

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Housemaid’s Knee! The doctor stifled back a snigger as he asked whether I spent a lot of time on my knees. I have the sudden urge to get a feather duster. I may scrub the porch steps later this evening. As a bloke I refute the existence of dust but as a housemaid, I know dust exists. I am confused.

Below is a picture of a Housemaid’s Knee. You can see the swelling (it’s soft and watery to the touch) beneath and slightly to the left of the kneecap. It aches a little.

My knee

Housemaid’s Knee.

No rest for the wicked

But I’m a good boy, so today was a day of rest after yesterday’s 6 mile wander in Gower.

Except I find it difficult to do nothing. I’ve talked to friends about this and opinion is divided. Some like to kick back and have no problem doing so, others find it hard to stop. So although I decided early to give my knee a break (not literally, of course) and take it easy, I soon found myself hoovering the house, and then cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen. Then it was out in the garden to remove great swathes of bamboo that grows right at the back.

I’ve spoken about the bamboo before, it’s where the Japanese soldiers live. Today, while they were away, I cut down about half of what was there. It’s still a jungle and it still makes a fantastic swishing sound in the wind, but less loudly now. The plan is to remove all of the bamboo and also bring down the levels of all the bushes and trees on the left of the garden so that my vegetable patch gets more direct sunlight. I also put up some Buddhist prayer flags that went with me to Everest Base Camp in 2011. They’re meant to be outside and only now have I got round to fixing them in place. Sadly, there are photos below of all my garden exploits.

Then it was time for a coffee and time to reflect on the poor choice of TV on a Bank Holiday.

Happy Easter everyone.

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