The word “limp” struggles to be used with a positive spin, despite its role as noun, verb and adjective. I fear that despite the relentless positivity for which GofaDM is justly famed, this post may struggle to rehabilitate “limp”. In fact, most nouns ending “-imp”, if applied to your fellow man (or woman or LGBTQA equivalent), would likely not endear you and may result in the swift delivery of a knucle sandwich. Still, in the hope that concentrating my limited powers will increase the chances of success I will focus on the word “limp”.
My right foot has been giving me gyp for a while now, but it has been possible to style this out so that only the most acute observer of my gait would deduce that anything was wrong. However, after a very enjoyable day in London (of which more may be revealed later) on Saturday my return to Southampton revealed rather severe pain when attempting to walk and I only made it the fairly distance home from the station with a very severe limp. This adjusted gait also generated a blister on the offending pedal extremity.
After recourse to the medical resources provided by the modern internet, and a brief study of the anatomy of the human foot, I would seem to have a rare type of injury that affects runners. This feels somewhat appropriate as I very rarely run. My self-diagnosis is that I am suffering from peroneal tendonitis, – and let’s not forget that I didn’t drop biology until the 3rd form (year 9 for the younger reader) and so am virtually a qualified doctor!
Given that my injury is one associated with runners, the primary advice for a swift recovery is to stop running. This is quite tricky for me to do as I would have to start running first – which seems somewhat unwise. The problem is inflammation of the tendon(s) that connect my foot to the end of my leg. Having read up on the role of these tendons, it seems a miracle that I haven’t been suffering for most of the last 50 years as I have been abusing the poor things for most of my span on this earth. Short of running, I do everything which might be expected to upset them – and more to my right foot than my left.
Mostly my infirmity isn’t an issue: I can still perform most activities with little or no pain. I am at least as capable of the ballet as I was before the injury, for example, and it in no way inhibits my acrobatics. Annoyingly, the one activity which is severely cramped by my malingering tendon(s) is walking. I am finding that walking is quite a tricky activity to cut out of my life , while I can replace most journeys with my bike this is not a universal option.
Still, thought I, I’ve always fancied an excuse to use a rather stylish walking-stick – preferable one with a concealed sword and flask for a suitable libation – and so perhaps there is a bright side. I don’t own a walking stick, but I do have quite a tall umbrella and used this for a test walk on Sunday evening. To my surprise, I found that successful deployment of a walking stick is rather challenging. I was almost incapable of integrating the stick with my limping gait to any useful effect. My respect for the elderly has moved up a notch or two: do AgeUK offer lessons to the newly antique? I do remain keen on the stick option, but it may be something that I have to work up to. In the meantime, I am trying to do some stretching which I fondly imagine is helping and to minimise my use of Shanks pony. The pain has subsided since Saturday evening, but I suspect it may be quite a while before I’m restored to (what I call) normal.
As a final note, it is worth saying that despite the pain, limp and odd gait I am still faster moving across the pavement than 90% of the UK population. I’d hate to be the target of any misguided sympathy…