I’ve gone down with Canvasser’s Heel. Well, the doctor called it plantar fasciitis: her first question to me after I had described the symptoms were, ‘Does your job involve a lot of standing and walking?’
The NHS defines it as ‘excessive, constant abnormal pulling and stretching of the fibrous bands that support the arch, [which] causes the heel bone to become inflamed and painful. This constant irritation can sometimes lead to a heel spur (bony growth) forming on the bottom of the heel bone. The patient usually complains of pain with the first step in the morning, some relief following activity, but the pain returning after extended amounts of time standing or walking.’
I’d thought I’d bruised my heel somehow, and had gone on canvassing (and limping) over several weekends, until it was clearly getting worse rather than better. The cure starts with icepacks applied, then rest, physiotherapy, walking gently, and wearing well-padded shoes.
This used, apparently, to be called ‘Policeman’s Heel’. Brian Paddick hadn’t heard of it, and the policeman I spoke to in Liverpool during our Spring conference only said that ‘we spend most of our time sitting in cars these days’. But the officer on duty outside the Commons as I left last Thursday said he’d suffered from it: too much walking around on hard pavements, made worse by standing for long periods on street corners. Road runners often suffer from this, too, I’m told.
So what should the dedicated Liberal activist do to avoid succumbing to this in the course of an election campaign? Wear comfortable lace-up shoes with thick soles and heels, for a start: Clark’s shoes, or trainers, are much better than thin-soled shoes. Sit down from time to time; twiddle your toes, flex your feet by going up on your toes and back every now and again. Put padded insoles in and arch supports, if that helps more. Think about the risks of spending too long on concrete and tarmac; walk on the grass when you can.
The full article is here