Monthly Archives: June 2013

Foot Update

Thursday 27 June. After visiting a local podiatrist on 31 May, having had my foot x-rayed on 4 June and two subsequent visits to my GP, I seemed no further forward in getting to the bottom of my foot problem, both with diagnosis and treatment. So, I thought that I’d seek a second opinion from another podiatrist, this time in Peterborough. I must say that she instilled a greater degree of confidence in her examination and diagnosis of my foot pain. Thankfully, she has ruled out a Neuroma; something that my GP also excluded so the treatment shouldn’t be too complicated.

My problem falls under the general term of “Metatasalgia” which covers a multitude of issues, but in my case is more likely to be Capulitis. Surrounding the joint connecting the metatarsal bone to the toe bone is a fibrous tissue which holds the fluid that lubricates the joint. This fibrous tissue is called the Capsule. If there is too much pressure on the particular joint, then the capsule becomes inflamed. The pain that this causes can be relieved by placing a pad just behind the affected metatarsal to slightly raise the bed of the foot and remove the pressure from the metatarsal head. I bought some metatarsal pads and used them on the excruciatingly painful Pingo Trail walk on 9 June. The big mistake was to place the pad directly under the metatarsal head which had the effect of increasing the pressure rather than relieving it. I’ve since learned that it should be placed further back to raise the foot behind the metatarsal head.

With my new found knowledge, I’ve done a couple of local half mile walks. The first was without the pad and this still caused real pain. The second was with the pad, correctly positioned, and it was relatively pain free. Obviously, I need to put this to a more sustained test if I’m to regain my confidence in walking longer distances.

The good news is that a short term remedy seems to be close to hand. The other piece of good news is the Peterborough based podiatrist undertook to write to my GP to recommend that I have an ultra-sound scan of my foot to identify any soft tissue damage and that this might be treated by a cortisone injection to settle the foot down. This will, no doubt, take some time to sort out but I don’t really want to pay BUPA £222 for an ultra-sound scan if I can get it done reasonably quickly on the NHS.

Buoyed by this good news, my current thinking is that I’ll go off, as planned, to Coniston for 2 weeks and hope that in the 3 weeks thereafter that I can get the scan/injection.

There has been a lot of boring text to read so I thought that I’d add a picture taken on my half mile walk around Benwick.

Early Finish

Wednesday 19 June. The weather was fine today in Wales but the forecast for the next 4 days is grim. The pain in my foot is such that I can’t say that I’m enjoying my walking very much just now. Consequently, I decided to come home early in the hope that I can get to see a doctor a little sooner. There are two doctors on duty on Friday but I can only get an appointment by phoning them on the day. At least this will be better than waiting until Thursday 27 June.

I suspect that the doctor will suggest a period of enforced rest, which is perhaps what I should have done for the last two weeks. If this is the case, then I’ll probably have to cancel my two weeks at Coniston on 8 July in the hope that this will do the trick and that I’ll be able to head off to Northumberland & Hawes for a month on 12 August. If 7 weeks of rest doesn’t do the trick then I may have to press for some other form of treatment from the NHS. Watch this space!

Llangollen History Trail

Tuesday 18 June. At last a warm day and I decided that I’d try something a little easier with the Llangollen History Trail. It was supposed to be 6 miles but I made it 6.8 miles with 1,200ft of ascent and I cut out the climb to Castell Dinas Bran. Starting from the town centre, I followed the tow-path of the Llangollen Canal for a couple of miles to the Horseshoe Falls. This is where 12 million gallons of water are extracted each day from the River Dee to top up the canal. The next stop was Valle Crucis Abbey which was founded by the Cistercian monks in 1201. At this point my foot began to ache and I was looking for the shortest way back. The route should have included a visit to Castell Dinas Bran but this would have required a climb of 450ft and, feeling the way I did, I decided to give this a miss and headed directly back to Llangollen. The Castell was built in the 1260s by Welsh Prince Gruffudd ap Madoc and was abandoned to the English forces of Edward 1 in 1277.

The foot isn’t getting any better and I’ve booked myself in to the Doctors on 27 June to see if there is anything that can be done to put it right.

The New Precipice Walk from LLanelltyd

Monday 17 June. My foot didn’t feel too bad after yesterday’s short walk so today was intended to be kill or cure with an assault on Cadair Idris. There were a few spots of rain on the drive there and I could see that the top of Cadair Idris was shrouded in cloud so this called for a quick change of plan. I had all of my walks details in the car with me so I diverted to nearby Llanelltyd to do the New Precipice walk. This was 5¾ miles with 2,160ft of ascent. The title might suggest some element of danger but it was a track about 4 or 5 feet wide contouring around the side of Foel Ispri. There was quite a bit of “up” to get there and, naturally, an equal amount of “down” but it was worth it as the terrace provided excellent views across to Cadair Idris and down the Afon Mawddach estuary as far as Barmouth. My lunch stop half way along the terrace was ideal and I could see that Cadair Idris was now cloud free although this didn’t last long as the clouds gathered later on.

My foot was painful towards the end and I think that an easier day is called for tomorrow before I try again for Cadair Idris.

Wells to Blakeney

Sunday 16 June. I couldn’t be with the group today as I’m on holiday in Wales. It looks as if they had great weather for their 7 mile walk from Wells to Blakeney. The pictures are courtesy of Barry and have been copied from his Facebook page. I’m sure that he won’t mind.

Rhewl & Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Sunday 16 June. It has stopped raining at last. Thin cloud cover and about 17c – yippee!

It was time to put my sore foot to the test and without the aid of painkillers. I selected a 3.4 mile route with 1,370ft of ascent. The walk started from outside the Hebron Chapel at Rhewl. A short section of level road walking was quickly followed by an ever climbing route on farm access tracks and finally a steep footpath to the hause between Moel Morfydd and Moel Gamelin. I passed on climbing the latter as the path was something like 1in3 up a scree slope. It was at this point that I saw a fell runner and even he was reduced to a steady plod as he made his way up Moel Gamelin (1,800ft). My high point was the hause at 1,440ft and for me it was all downhill from here on. A nice contouring path gave way to a small road where I was surprised to see Bluebells still in flower in the middle of June. When I was about ¾ of the way down I met 3 groups of about 25 DofE kids who were going up the hill I had just come down. They seemed exhausted carrying their heavy packs & tents. I told them that they still had some way to go.

Whilst in the area I made the short drive to Pontcysyllte to see and walk across the aqueduct carrying the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee. It was busy with tourists who, like me, seemed to be there just to walk across the aqueduct and back.

My foot still felt sore, at times, on the hill walk and when crossing the aqueduct but at least I didn’t need any painkillers. How it will fare on a longer walk, only time will tell.

Welsh Rain

Friday 14 June. It has rained for some part of each day since I arrived on Monday which, along with a painful foot, has put me off walking. The forecast for today and the weekend isn’t much better but there is some hope that it will improve by the middle of next week. I’m becoming frustrated by all of this inactivity so I went on a local shopping trip to Corwen with the intention of combining this with a short walk. By the time that I’d finished my shopping, it was spitting with rain and as I write this, it is pouring again. It has to get better soon – please!!