WAYNE HEMINGWAY on the mysteries of Plantar Fasciitis; my old trouble

Cayte Williams
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:41

I suddenly felt my foot go when I was playing squash two years ago. The tendon that stops your foot from going flat - that connects the ball of your foot to your heel - had almost completely ripped off. It was agony. I just don't know how it happened. I'd never had any problems with my feet before. I went the doctor who told me to rest up. But, when it didn't get any better, he sent me to see a specialist, who diagnosed the problem - it's a condition called Plantar Fasciitis.

The only way to treat Plantar Fasciitis is with hydrocortisone injections. They cannot use anaesthetic on your foot because it doesn't work, so you have to have this injection into your bone and it absolutely kills you. It's worse than pulling a tooth out. The next specialist I went to see was this east European doctor in a private hospital in North London. He flipped me over, put his knee across my back and got a nurse to hold my legs down so I couldn't move. He said, "This is going to hurt", and got out this massive needle full of liquid. When he injected you could feel the liquid going into your foot. He had to get the needle in exactly the right spot and, on one occasion, he missed. It was agony.

It got better for a few months after the injection and then the pain came back. I could play tennis and go walking, but it was while I was playing tennis that the other foot went. So, I started having these excruciatingly painful injections in both feet. They cannot operate on Plantar Fasciitis, so they had to keep injecting me. Eventually, the injections stopped working. This meant I couldn't do any more sport, which is a major part of my life. I couldn't even play sport with the kids.

In the end, the doctor sent me to a specialist in Harley Street, who took a computer imprint of my foot and made plastic moulds which he put inside my shoes. I had to wear them for about a year and they worked. Eventually, I could go running and play sport again. When I walked along with these moulds in my shoes, my feet would stay in one position - they wouldn't move at all. It felt weird, like walking in a pair of high heels, like you're strapped in. You could put the moulds in any shoe, as long as they were quite wide. So, I had to wear trainers and sad, comfortable shoes.

My foot problem has, I suppose, improved my working life. By having to wear special, comfortable shoes to cure my ailment, it inspired us into doing some naff comfort shoes for part of the new Red Or Dead collection. They have since become trendy and my feet are better. So, this is a story with a happy ending.

Interview by Cayte Williams

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments