Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rail Trail Walk. Aftermath

On the very first day of the walk, Gay had trouble with pain in her Achilles tendons. The above picture is indicative of the damage done. I have been feeling a bit guilty about this. My style of walking since I took up the long distances for Vic's Big Walk could be described as forced marching. I walk as fast as I can, with litlle or no pause, until we reach the final destination or the next scheduled stop. Our friend Lorenzo has been heard to tell people "Do not walk with this man - he will kill you". Gay's natural walking speed is faster than mine but she does not usually do it for days on end. I am relieved to know that it was not the intensity of the march which damaged her Achilles but the friction from badly designed shoes.

The only shoes she can wear since we finished the walk are those (below) which she was using during the walk itself. On the morning of the fifth day, when we were back in our own premises, and before we set off for the day's walk, she seized the breadknife and proceeded to savage the shoes. What was removed was the so-called "heel protector". We have read many times in running magazines of the damage this does to the achilles tendon. It is not there to protect heels at all - from what would it be protecting them? It is there solely for aesthetic reasons - because the rise at the back of the leg visually balances out the rise at the front of the leg. It does far more harm than good and it is about time shoe manufacturers stopped including it in their design - in much the same way as many of them are now selling shoes without all the cushioning under the heel, which has saved nobody from injury and probably induced many.

It is over a week since we finished the walk and there has been no improvement to Gay's damaged Achilles tendons. Yesterday she went to a physio in Balclutha, who pronounced that the sheathes of the tendons were damaged through friction, strapped up the backs of Gay's legs in those fetching colours, gave her some gentle stretching excercises to do and told her to come back on Thursday.

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