SWB on the perils of footwear

I met my friend last night at an event. As she turned to speak me she turned her body a full 180 degrees instead of just inclining her head. ‘I’ve hurt my back,’ she explained, ‘falling UP the stairs.’ She tripped about three steps up, lost her balance and fell awkwardly. Her family came running to find her sprockled in the hallway. ‘Don’t move!’ ordered her son, who, 18 months into his St John’s Ambulance training, is the self-appointed medic in the house. ‘It could be a spinal injury,’ he added, which didn’t reassure my friend, who was hoping that no more than her pride was hurt. Happily she suffered no lasting damage and is just a bit stiff and sore. The culprit for her tumble? Her slippers. Readers, take this column as your friendly public service broadcast, and invest in a pair of solid, grip-soled, well-fitting house shoes. Google ‘slipper related injuries’  and articles such as ‘Beware of the Slipper’ appear, advising that one exercises great caution when considering the choice of indoor footwear. It advises particularly against ‘bulky out-sized novelty slippers,’ (these are unwise apparel for housework, it counsels), but number one risk is ‘tumbling downstairs’, as my friend can unfortunately attest.

You know what else are lethal? Fleecy socks, the type advertised with cuddly bears in pastel shades on the label which nauseatingly read, ‘cosy up, it’s snuggle-time!’ These should be banned, if you ask me. I speak with some authority on the matter, because for reasons best known only to himself, my husband donned a thick pair of socks when we were entertaining over the holidays. Yes, Easter this year was uncharacteristically nippy, but why he deemed them necessary I’m not sure. Anyhoo, treacherous socks combined with the frictionless surface of our tiled bathroom floor proved a bad combination. Down he went like a sack of spuds, emitting a blood-chilling howl, at 12.05, having nodded off on the sofa. Full disclosure folks; drink had been taken. He has a tendency to down red wine as a parched child would guzzle Ribena at a soft-play area, but sadly for him, our downstairs loo afforded no such padded surfaces. He thinks he may have cracked a rib. Listening to him bleat on about it has been a joy, I assure you. He claims that the socks were definitely more responsible than the shiraz and they have been since consigned to the fabric bin at Ormeau Recycling Centre.

It’s not just footwear which can prove treacherous. Once one reaches a certain age, chronic pain can be precipitated by the most harmless-sounding activities. Two of friends have recently fallen victim to frozen shoulders and tennis elbow respectively. Both of these are entirely un-sport related, and were induced by knitting. Yes, knitting. ‘What are you made of, cotton wool?’ asked one of their less than sympathetic daughters. ‘It was rather a chunky yarn,’ one of them admitted, who was fashioning a cable-knit cardigan for her son, ‘and I did hurry myself to get it finished.’ I never had knitting down as an extreme sport, but sure, you read it here first.

I’d say we’re best up doing nothing, just sitting on the sofa nursing cups of tea, but the floor is better for all your joints apparently, and scalds from kettles are on the rise too. If you’ve any ideas for risk-free pursuits, do get in touch. I’m all ears.


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