‘Break a Leg’

Welcome to ‘Break a Leg’ an article that looks at health and safety in the home. This scenario probably plays out in most homes on a daily basis…


The telephone rings. You are in the shower, or you are just pulling on your trousers, pants or skirt and you hear a noise.

It’s the ‘phone. That compulsive trait we all have kicks in.

Who is it? A need to know. Humans crave to stay in touch; that up to the minute requisite associated with the reality of weakness that we cannot miss any news.

My father is 91 and he uses his mobile mostly, even though his hearing is pretty poor nowadays.

‘Why use your mobile,’ I ask him.

‘Because I have so many free minutes.’

His landline goes off while he speaks to me.

‘I’ve got to go, the other phone is ringing,’ he informs me.

‘So, leave it, they will always come back to you,’ I advise.

‘No, it could be important,’

or he might say, ‘I am expecting this call.’

My father wrote the book of excuses and explanations…

It soon becomes obvious that these demands, our craving to know instantly who is on the phone, cannot be attributed in isolation to a younger generation.

You might be wondering where is this article all going? Yes, I am a foot health journalist, but what has the telephone got to do with feet? Being an avid writer with a keen eye for observational rubbish I can make anything relate to feet.

Chances are, as you struggle to pull those trousers over your somewhat oversized waist or thighs, your joints move slowly. Your body is older than you care to admit and two things remind you of old age.

The mirror is one, and secondly, that unenviable inability to retain a sense of pliability with any bending manoeuvre involving key postural joints. You still think you are 30 and then you are reminded, while your brain might treat you to an avatar of youth, that you are downright disabled. Disabled is a relative term of course but it dovetails with the term mobility or inability to move.

As you stretch into your still youthful jeans at 63 and stand you wobble. The first footfall fails to take the most direct route to the door. The ‘phone is ringing and suddenly off-balance you hit the door frame. You know that bruise will appear two days later and might suggest you have just taken part in the weekend rugby team meeting if you stretch the lie. And so the ringing continues and you think I should be able to make that ringing tone. Because you are upstairs those golf clubs that you have not put away connect with your toes. Despite the emission of uncouth language, it is your fault as your wife refuses any longer to tidy up after you.

‘with age comes responsibility,’she says.

The nail on your toe is now burning away in your upper consciousness. Unknown to you the nail has been ripped upwards so the plate and soft tissue are separated. Blood starts to leave a discrete trail.

‘Is it all worth it, they could ring back,’Mr Common-sense suggests from the integral structure called the frontal lobe of your man brain.

But no, you press on as the fourth ring is announced and you are slowly making your way downstairs trying to avoid all the obstacles when you suddenly plant your foot on that sharp object left by the grandchild last weekend.

Whether it punctures your skin matters not. It hurts to blazes and you need to inspect for blood, skin tears and confirm why the foot hurts so much as the fifth ring is declared. Your hand finally reaches for the ‘phone. The wife picks that moment to stick her head out of the shower downstairs where she had been more conveniently placed to reach the vibrating instrument invented so many decades ago.

Can you get that? I’m all wet!’ she announces helpfully.

Your hand finally grasps the handset and the ringing stops. You stare at the handset and state the obvious,


You look back on the journey of pain you have just completed. There is a trail with sprinkles of blood that would interest a scene of crime officer or easily make an episode of CSI.

Pain seems to have awakened your sense of priority and you realise you have just run a gauntlet of health and safety risks.

A final glance at the phone screen states that the caller’s number has been withheld!

‘Was it worth it?’…


This article is now available as a podcast from Podbeam. You can listen to the audio version (5 mins) by clicking here read by David Tollafield. 


Please write to me if you have suffered the frustration of an injury while trying to reach the telephonic device, or worse still reaching for a mobile phone. E-mail to consultingfootpain@gmail.com


Thanks for reading ‘Break a Leg’ written by David Tollafield for Foot Health Month. Published by Busypencilcase Communications Ltd. April 2019