Deborah Meaden, 60, is the definition of a go-getter. Her long list of achievements include running a multimillion-pound family holiday business and carving out a successful TV career, regularly appearing on the BBC Two business programme Dragons’ Den. True to form, she jumped straight into another challenge back in 2013, joining the Strictly Come Dancing line-up. Unlike her other ventures, however, the event took a turn for the worse when she sustained an injury in her feet that has given her continual grief.
Speaking to Closer Magazine, she said: “I still have permanent pain in the balls of my feet, which is a constant reminder that I did the show.”
Meaden added: “It started after I spent ten hours a day waltzing and I put too much pressure on them.”
According to the NHS, pain in the ball of a person’s foot is known as metatarsalgia.
The condition is a common complaint. As the NHS pointed out, pain in the ball of person’s foot is often caused by exercising too much or wearing shoes that are too tight.
“Some people also have a foot shape that puts extra pressure on the ball of the foot – for example, if you have small curled-up toes (hammer toes) or high arches,” said the NHS.
Symptoms of foot pain can include pain, swelling and bruising caused by an intense or repetitive exercise, explained the health site.
Fortunately, measures can be taken to alleviate the pain.
The NHS recommended the following:
- Rest and raise the foot when possible
- Put an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) in a towel on the painful area for up to 20 minutes every two to three hours
- Wear wide comfortable shoes with a low heel and soft sole
- Use soft insoles or pads in shoes
- A person should try to lose weight if they are overweight
- Try regular gentle stretching exercises
- Take paracetamol
The NHS also warned against taking ibuprofen for the first 48 hours after the injury and said to avoid walking or standing for long periods.
The health body advised against wearing high heels or tight pointy shoes.
Certain cases may call for more specialist support. The Dragons’ Den star has steroid injections to alleviate the pain.
She said: “Everybody is injured in some way (on the show) but now I need to have steroid injections in my feet to keep them supple.
“I should probably have them every six weeks, but I leave it until they hurt too much and then I go to see my specialist, who tells me off for letting it get to that stage.”
People may also benefit from seeing a podiatrist.
As Bupa explained: “Podiatrists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disorders that affect the foot, ankle and lower limb, and how they react to stresses placed upon them.”
It added: “They can help combat conditions such as heel pain and pain from the thickening of tissue underneath the foot, toe deformities and pain from movement of the foot as well as providing assistance in easing achilles, calf, shin and knee pain.”