Thursday, 31 January 2013

Progress report 8 weeks 2 days, VIDEOS!

I was walking down the stairs yesterday when I had a bit of a revelation - that I was WALKING DOWN THE STAIRS!

Sounds dullsville but it was the first time I have managed the stairs without having to put my heel down first, and without needing to put one foot down, then put the next foot on the same stair, like a child does.

This was so exciting I felt that pictures just wouldn't cut it. No still picture could possibly convey the amazingness (yes, it's a word) of me walking down the stairs. So I did a video.

And then I got carried away and did a few videos for you, of my exercises and walking, and just a general look at my feet and scars.

So...all the words today are in the videos, here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

(By the way, don't my toes look fantabulously straight in that opening still!)

I'll tell you what, though, it takes at least half an hour for each one to upload to YouTube, so it's definitely not an option for a quick update. The third one took over 90 minutes to upload!

Let me know if you like them - leave me a comment here on the blog. If videos are popular, then I can do more. No weird requests please!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Toe spacers and pedicures

I noticed yesterday that the pink toe spacers that my surgeon made from putty for me, when he changed my casts in week 2, were feeling a little loose.

I especially felt that when I was standing my toes were spacing out wider than the spacer, leaving it floating between them.

My guess is that now I am putting weight on my feet, my toes are moving further apart due to that pressure, which is obviously a good thing, but it's making the gap between my toes bigger than the spacers.

So I wondered how useful they were really being?

My desire is to have toes that are as straight as possible, and while I don't know anything about the mechanics of the recovery, I assume that although the bones themselves are surely set in place now, the tendons and muscles are still learning their new positions and movements, so this might be a window of opportunity to continue to improve the positioning.

I could be completely wrong, in which case any medical people reading, please let me know!

Anyway, I wanted to replace the pink spacers with wider ones to help encourage my toes into the best possible position.

I had a Google to see if I could get some of the putty, as making my own custom spacers felt like the best option, but I couldn't find a source and I wasn't entirely sure what I was looking for.

So then I searched for "toe spacers" but soon found that some places call them "toe separators" which to me sounds more like those things you use when you paint your toenails, like these (note the slight bunion bump on the side of the foot and the tight spacing of the big and second toes! Even models have bunions!):

What I wanted was these:

Credit: Amazon

They come in different sizes, although they don't specify how wide they are so it's not easy to compare. Those ones are pretty good value, but I wanted some new ones asap, so I sent the hubby to Boots and he got me these:

Sorry, I took the spacers out before I took the picture. You can see them on the Boots website here.

They are more expensive than the ones on Amazon, but then Amazon doesn't pay for a retail unit, or even the right amount of tax, plus I wanted them today rather than having to wait. And hey, we get Advantage card points too!

So, hubby got them after church today, and I wasted no time in testing them out.

I think they are wider than the pink ones. They definitely feel it. I could handle them being wider, but I think I can probably wrap some lambswool or cotton wool around them to add a bit of width and customise them to suit me.

The observant among you will notice I did my pedicure last night - bubblegum pink base with a gold and dark pink dotted flower on each big toenail. I love nail art but am still a complete amateur so all I can manage are dots or tips.

Anyway, one thing I have noticed today with all this in-out-in-out-shake-it-all-about of spacers is that when I don't have them in, my big toes are noticeably closer to my second toe than when the spacers are there.

I'm not entirely happy about this, and am hoping I will be able to ask my surgeon about it when he comes back to me on my other questions.

Although I do remember reading an American surgeon's site where he said he never does women's toes totally straight as they then find it hard to wear fashionable shoes afterwards, because most shoes (men's or ladies' in my opinion) have an angled toe box.

So maybe that's applicable to me?

Anyway, I took some pictures to show the difference:

The top two pictures I did without moving my feet on the pouffe, so you can use how much paattern is visible as a guide to how much the toes have moved. I'm afraid the last one was a standalone picture but you can still see that they are definitely not as straight as when the spacers are there.

You can click on the pictures to see larger versions, and underneath you should get a tickertape of all the pictures in the post, so you can click on them to run through the sequence, and if you flick between the first two you should see the toe move!

In case you just want the pictures bigger, then here they are again, larger.

Right. In the interests of being thorough, I also took some while standing with my weight through my forefoot. I thought that might make a difference. Again, I kept my feet in the same position so you can use the pattern as a guide.

Standing didn't seem to make a difference. There is definitely movement once the spacers are taken out.

I've got to admit, I'm a bit disappointed. I thought the idea was to make my toes straight, and I'm concerned about the bunions coming back if my toes bend in a bit. It's definitely something I want to ask Mr Nugent about.

In case all this staring at my feet has made you forget what normal feet are supposed to look like, here is the Little Lady's adorable foot.

As you can see, her big toes almost tilt the opposite way to mine - her feet haven't yet been put under undue pressure by shoes (I always get her brand new shoes that have been fitted properly by a trained fitter).

I intend to write about natural foot shape another time, but as this post is all about spacers, I'll leave you with pictures of a couple of products that some people swear will help keep your toes in proper alignment.

I haven't any experience of them myself, nor do I know anyone who uses them, but I plan to investigate further once I'm fully recovered.

We have the toe stretchers (aka Yoga Toes TM):

Credit: Amazon

And these are the separator socks:

Credit: Amazon

And finally, the bunion splint:

Credit: Amazon

Ok, so those look a little like an instrument of torture, but I have read that some people think they are brilliant. Obviously, nothing can correct an existing bunion except surgery, but I think this splint and the other separator devices could probably help negate the pressures of shoes, if worn regularly and over a period of time.

Worth thinking about, anyway.

Progress at 7 weeks 5 days and some other updates

One of the reasons for writing this blog is so that people considering the surgery, or booked in for it, or who had their surgery after mine, can see my progress and get an idea of how they will progress.

Obviously, everyone is different, and as a result we will not only all have different experiences of the surgery but also of the progress afterwards.

But I hope that this will give at least some idea of how the pain and mobility might be at certain points along the journey.

I realised that I forgot to mention a few things in my previous report because there was so much else to say.

Importantly, I wanted to mention that it took about 48 hours (two days) after the casts were removed before I could put my foot and toes totally flat on the floor without any pain.

I was surprised at how even that simple action was sore and difficult, but by two days afterwards, I was able to place the whole foot flat on the floor without difficulty, and put my weight through the whole foot too.

The first day I could, with effort, put my toes down, but there was no way I was going to put my weight on them! But the day after, I could do that too.

Now, at five days after the casts came off - I'll call it C-Day - I'm able to put all my weight on them happily, but I'm still wary of bending them as I walk, so I have a tenative way of walking that is slow and laboured.

But it's all progress, which is great.

I've labelled this post 7 weeks 5 days, which is actually yesterday, because I wanted to share yesterday's exercise pictures.

This one shows me pushing up on my toes on both feet. I have tried to hold a ruler so you can see how high I can get currently, but it's my black Filofax one and doesn't really show up well. I think I'll make a clearer one from cardboard for future pictures.

It's also not very accurate because the measurement doesn;t start at the edge of the ruler, but taking that into account you can see my heel comes up about 2.5inches.

This is just the left foot. I'm not sure if this one has more range of motion or if it's easier to push up on one foot at a time, but you might be able to see that this heel is around the 3-inch mark.

I promise I'll make a better ruler for next time!

Friday, 25 January 2013

I like to move it, move it

One of the main concerns in my recovery is getting full range of motion back in my big toes, so that I can walk, run, do yoga and, ahem, wear heels.

I did ask the doctor (not my surgeon) at the hospital when the casts were removed about exercises, but he said I didn't need to do them.

However, I know from reading other people's experiences that in America especially, people get given exercises to do, and it makes sense to me that it would be beneficial to do some, even if the NHS doesn't deem them necessary.

The main exercises I can find online pretty much all seem to be the same as these ones here.

The timings on the sheet are different, because it seems that in America people get their casts off really soon, after a couple of weeks. I'm not sure why that is as the standard bone healing time here in the UK is six weeks - if you break a bone, you get a cast for six weeks - so it seems odd to me that they'd take them off sooner than that.

I'm glad I had mine on for seven weeks as I feel it gave my bones a really good chance to heal in the right place.

Anyway, ignoring the timings, I am now trying to do the same exercises every day.

So I hold my big toe near the operated-on joint and move it up as much as I can without crying, then hold for ten seconds, then do the same thing moving it down and hold for ten seconds.

Then I put my toes on the floor and lift up as though going on tiptoe, putting weight through the toes, as much as I can without weeping in pain, and hold for ten seconds.

It really hurts.

I am careful not to push beyond discomfort into agony as that would be counterproductive, but I have learned from yoga that it's important to breathe through mild pain and listen to your body so that you challenge it, but at the same time don't push it too far.

Yesterday I took some pictures so that a) you lot could see how little I can move and b) I can chart my progress over the coming months.

This picture shoes how far I can currently lift my feet from the floor. It's not so bad - I could definitely get some low heels on lol.

The same exercise with just the left foot. Probably I should do this with a ruler for future pictures, but it looks about three inches?

This is me pointing my toes. I feel like they don't move at all when I do this!

Applying pressure to the toe to move it as far down as possible. Which is probably about one millimetre!

Overall I think that the progress is OK. Even in the last few days I've gone from it being painful to get my feet into the trainers, to being able to do it without pain, albeit gently and slowly.

You just don't realise how much you bend your toes in daily life until you can't do it easily. I have a new respect for elderly people now, I can tell you.

Recovery without casts - the first few days

Well, the first night after the casts came off was agony. Not in my big toes, but in my left middle toe.

When the casts were removed, I noticed that toe was very red. It seemed like it had been crushed by the cast over the previous five weeks and when I touched it, it felt bruised, so I decided in my wisdom that what it needed was a massage.

Bad idea.

Massaging it sparked off agonising pain that continued for hours. I took two codeine at 2.15am but they didn't seem to do anything, and by 3.15am I was nearly crying, and wanting to bang my head against the wall to distract myself from my toe.

I must have fallen asleep eventually because I woke up in the morning and thankfully it had stopped hurting, but I haven't dared touch that toe since! I have asked Mr Nugent on email about it, in case I should see someone.

In fact, today (Friday) is three days after the casts were removed and the toe has a purple spot on it in the middle of the red, so I think my bruising/crushing theory is probably right. I guess it's just going to take time to heal.

Here's what it looked like yesterday (Thursday) two days after the casts came off.

You can see how sore and inflamed it is.

The day after the removal, the Little Lady went to preschool so I spent the day rubbing cream into my feet, especially on the scars, and trying to manage to put my weight fully through the forefoot.

It felt really sore and tight, especially around the incisions, and I was amazed at how little flexibility I have right now.

Yesterday, I put my trainers on (no pictures, I can't bear it!) and walked the Little Lady to and from preschool at both ends of the day.

What is a mere 0.4 miles, and takes five minutes at adult pace or around 15 minutes at child pace, took me TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES.

And I had to go back again as well. So it was just under an hour for drop-off, then I rested until it was time to fetch her, and did just under an hour of shuffling again.

Big mistake.

My feet swelled up, were very sore, and today my legs and hips are aching like I ran a marathon! Crazy.

It doesn't help that my right toe spacer feels lumpy under the next toe, and when I walk (shuffle) it is painful as it digs in. I've emailed Mr Nugent to ask if it's OK if I cut it down a bit to try and stop that happening as I need to be able to put my weight through my foot.

I have some pictures I took yesterday of my scars. All the dead skin has come off now, and although they are still very dry and need a lot of cream, they're pretty much back to normal skin-wise.

Here they are looking great.

Look at those straight toes! *big grin*

And have a look at my scars! I am beyond delighted with how they are looking.

I am so pleased. Obviously they are still pinky red right now, but they are so thin and neat! Mr Nugent has done a fantastic job and I can tell that when they do go silver they will be hardly visible.

I know that's a bit of a vain concern, but it is important to me tthat my feet look as normal as possible in future.

The only thing I'm disappointed about right now is how little range of motion I have in my toes, but that's for the next post.

The big reveal. Part 3. A bath at last!

For me, the big moment was always going to be when I could at long last get my feet into warm water and begin to get to know them again.

That might sound odd, but I haven't been able to see, let alone touch, them for nearly two months, and now here they are all puffy and with sore red incisions, feeling tender and achy.

I really want to massage them and make them feel better, but I'm also scared to touch them in case it hurts too much!

Anyway, you're all just here for the pictures, so let's start with what they look like in the velcro shoes, while standing.

Sorry it's dark, we have ceiling spots in the bathroom and the multiple shadows they create, coupled with my amateur photography skills, make it difficult for me to get a good picture.

But I think you can see what my feet will look like in shoes once they're healed, and obviously once I no longer have to wear the spacers the other toes will move over into a more natural position, and I won't have a massive gap.

The next lot of pictures are close-ups of my dry scaly skin, and the incisions, steri strips and dried blood. If that's a problem for you, scroll down to the bottom, then scroll up slowly till you reach the point where I tell you it's safe!

Grimometer rating: 3/10

Off you go squeamish people!

Everyone else, here we go!

Nice huh? I was really interested in the pattern of the cracking on the balls of my feet. It wasn't what I'd expected, not that I'd thought about it much!

OK, squeamish people! You can come back in at this point. No more close-ups of grim stuff, I promise.

Next are some pictures just of my feet.

And just one more (well, you are reading a blog about feet!) showing my feet on the floor with a bit of weight on them, to try and see how they will look when I'm standing (but at this point I was too scared to stand on them!).

Again, apologies for the shadows. But you can see how the shape of my feet are very much more Roman now, than Greek. If that is all Greek to you (see what I did there?!) then have a read of this post, but basically this picture will show you what I mean.

Before I had the surgery, my feet looked like this:

And now they look like this.

If you can manage to get both pictures on your screen at once, you can see how amazing a job Mr Nugent has done.

At long last, it was time to get in the bath.

That was taken after I'd sorted out all the dead skin and cut my toenails. You'll be glad to hear that I didn't take any pictures of the dead skin, but suffice to say it was really quite disgusting.

There was so much on my feet, more than was obviously visible, that rubbing it off with my hands felt like I was degloving my foot.

Be very grateful I did the Googling for you - it also brings up pictures, and if I thought it was bad enough imagining it, I was right. DO NOT Google 'degloving' unless you are very strong of stomach. (There's no pictures on the link.)

Basically, it felt like I had a lot of very thick creamy stuff on my foot, which just slid off as I rubbed. Ugh. It really was vile.

And there was so much!

Eventually, it started to feel gritty when I rubbed, so I decided I'd reached virgin new skin that was very tender, and stopped. My feet were quite spottily red afterwards, and needed lots of cream rubbing in. But I will be doing that regularly from now on anyway to help them heal and to massage my scars.

I also peeled off my steri strips, which came off easily and without me feeling weird, once they were soaked through.

I gently dabbed at my feet with a towel to dry them, and gingerly applied loads of cream. The scars felt quite tender still, but I'm sure they will harden up with time.

To finish I put on some very thin socks to keep the cream from rubbing off. I used a pair I got from the soft play centre that are meant for one use only. They actually hold up quite well in the wash, and I like them as lightweight socks to put on after I've put cream on my feet at bedtime.

You can't buy them in the shops, as they are only sold in bulk from Blue Box Socks and I can't imagine having a use for 200 pairs! But they only cost £1 from play centres and my two pairs have survived a 40 degree wash quite happily.

So there you have it! The full and final reveal! Now it's on to relearning to walk, looking after my scars, and the final leg of the recovery.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The big reveal part 2. Doctor's verdict.

OK, I teased you a bit in that last post, but what's a little anticipation between friends?

Back at the orthopaedics department, we were called straight in and then waited for quite a while in a side room.

There were big signs everywhere saying "do not take pictures in here" I think mainly to stop you photographing your own X-rays, but laughably claiming it was to "protect your information". Right, not to encourage me to pay a fee to access my own information from you later, then. Of course not. Ahem.

So I took off the velcro shoes, and waited on the bed.

This was my view.

You can see how much of the steri strips I let the plaster lady pull off before I wimped out. My skin is still yellow from the stuff they paint on before surgery, and if you look closely you can see how dry and flaky my skin is.

At this point, I thought the worst dryness was on the top of my foot, near my ankle, and on the balls of my feet, where I could see it cracking.

After quite a while waiting a doctor came in to see me, but it wasn't Mr Nugent.

I have to say I wasn't happy about that. I had wanted to see my surgeon, and my dissatisfaction was exacerbated when this doctor - I didn't catch his name - said "Right, we'll get new casts on you then".


"Er," I said. "I've had them on for seven weeks, I thought they came off today."

"Oh yes," he said. "That's right, I thought you were at two weeks."

Really NOT confidence inspiring!

I was not happy. I asked him my questions about driving, exercises, shoes, and he told me "You can wear any shoes. You can drive on Monday. You don't need to do toe exercises. But don't exercise till you come back at 12 weeks."


So Mr Nugent told me to bring trainers, which I bought especially with money I don't really have, and now I'm told I can wear anything? And I don't need to do any exercises to improve my range of motion? And I can drive in six days' time?

I call BS on that, frankly.

I was, and am, really unhappy with that appointment. I feel that the doctor was not fully informed and I really wish I could have seen Mr Nugent.

Before I left, he got me to walk a little but I was SO SCARED that I couldn't really do it, and just put my weight on my heels. I was terrified of being in pain.

So I hobbled over to the computer and he showed me my X-rays. To be honest, I wouldn't know how good it was. I could see where the bone had been cut and moved, but without the old ones next to them, it was hard to tell anything really.

I want to know if Mr Nugent is happy with them, as he is my surgeon, but more of that later.

So, unsure about the shoes thing I put the velcro shoes on to go home and once we'd got the Little Lady to bed I ran myself a lovely warm bath so I could start de-flaking my feet.

If you want to see lots of pictures of that (my feet, not me nekkid in the bath) then look out for part 3 which is coming soon.

The big reveal part 1. Plaster room and X-ray.

Sorry everyone. There you are, waiting on tenterhooks to hear about the casts coming off, to see the final result, and I go AWOL.


The excuses are that my appointment on Tuesday was right at the end of the day, and by the time we got home and put the Little Lady to bed and had something to eat it was bedtime. Plus, I haven't worked out how to take good shots in artifical light and the flash on my camera bleaches everything out close-up, so I needed to wait.

And yesterday was my birthday, and I decided that instead of blogging and taking pictures that I would see friends, go out to lunch, and generally have a nice day.

So, sorry, but this is the first chance I've had to write.

Regular readers will know that I had my casts changed after two weeks, then had the new ones on for another five weeks, so a total of seven weeks.

We went to the hospital and this time I had to have the casts removed before having the X-rays.

I was sent to the plaster room (last time my surgeon removed the casts) and they did the same thing - cut the bandages round my ankles and then wiggled the casts off.

The lady did start to pull my steri strips off but it made me so squeamish I almost cried so I begged her to stop and told her I'd soak them off at home.

Another nurse dealing with the lady next to me (no privacy here, this is the NHS) told me she had had one bunion done, and I got the usual "you were brave" comment about having them both done at once.

I have to say, I don't feel brave. I mean, I know the recovery has been more onerous as I've not been able to walk at all, but at least I don't have to go through this again!

After the casts were off I felt very vulnerable, so I put my velcro shoes back on and wow! They wrapped so far round my feet I had to fold one of the flaps under! Amazing just how big those casts were.

See how thin my feet look there!

In X-ray, I had the same girl again who had one of her bunions done. She was impressed with my feet, which was reassuring, and we talked about shoes. She said she rarely wears heels now and makes sure her shoes are soft and supportive. I guess I really am going to have to rethink my shoes for a while!

Once she'd taken two shots of each foot, I went back to wait to be seen by Mr Nugent.

Head on over to part 2 for the next installment.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mmm. Footfetti.

Today I was trying to get a good look at my feet beneath the casts, to see just how horribly scaly they are.

I was pulling at the edges of the bandages to try and peek under the cast, which, by the way, is pretty impossible even for someone as flexible as me, when I made a discovery.


Yes, I've made that up. But let's say I've coined it, like Shakespeare, because isn't it a great word? It totally describes what happened: a load of flakes of dead skin from my feet came floating out of the cast as a released the bandage edge, like confetti at a zombie wedding.

Almost beautiful. And yet, not.

I nearly took a picture but figured peole might read this while eating lunch. Imagine instead a pile of very large flakes of dandruff. That's pretty much it.

Oh yeah, I am SO looking forward to the state of my feet on Tuesday.

Two sleeps to go!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Day 46: Feeling fed up and frustrated

I am so utterly fed up with my casts. It's been nearly seven weeks now and I am very ready for them to come off. Had Christmas not got in the way, they would have come off three days ago, so it's especially annoying to still be in them.

They are due off on Tuesday (day 50) but currently the whole of the UK is under an amber weather warning and around six inches of snow, which will sound laughable to readers in colder climes (Hello Canada! Hello Russia!) but that's about as much snow as it takes to cause major disruption over here.

So that may mean I can't even have them removed on Tuesday.

I'm hoping that my surgeon lives near to the hospital and as the roads will be gritted, I'll do everything I can do get there myself, but there is a possibility that it won't happen.

The casts are pretty uncomfortable now, due mainly I think to my feet being far less swollen now so the casts are able to move up and down on my feet a bit. They're also quite hot, which you'd think would be a good thing in this weather, but actually I find them too hot, especially at night, and end up hanging my feet out from under the covers in a bid to cool them down.

Also, I feel like what my feet really need is a good massage. I am longing to be able to rub in some cream and gently ease out the tension in them, not to mention getting to grips with the awful dry skin!

From what I can see, my feet are going to peel like banana skins once the casts are off. My toes are already cracking and flaking, and my heels are so dry that if I perch them on the sofa, afterwards there is a fine coating of what looks like sofa dandruff left behind. Grimsville.

I know, I'm making jokes again, but it's the only way I can deal with it. I have completely hit the wall.

Yesterday I made tea for the Little Lady and my friend's little boy, who is one. It didn't take long - just some boiled carrots, gnocchi, and a tomato sauce made by reducing a tin of plum tomatoes with a dash of bouillon and herbs.

But afterwards my feet were hurting from just that small amount of standing, and overnight I developed a sharp stabbing pain in the joint on my right foot, which might be unrelated but equally might not.

I've had the pain on and off throughout today, and of course I'm now worrying something is wrong, so it will be a real relief to see new X-rays on Tuesday, assuming we have no more snow.

And if we do? Well, I just might have to cry. Or cut them off myself, if I get too desperate.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Scaly lizard talons?

Occasionally, I think that some of the visitors to this blog might end up just a bit disappointed.

This isn't due to some lack in the writing - which I think could be said to rival Shakespeare, Bronte, Shriver and even Rowling (most definitely JK) - or the pictures, which might even give Liebowitz pause for thought, but in the subject matter itself.

I know. I find it incredible too. Believe me, I can think of few more scintillating subjects than bunions and related issues, but the stats don't lie, and mine hint that the search terms people use to end up on here were intended to direct them somewhere else entirely.

Obviously, those readers who came here via the simple search terms of "bunion", "bunions" or even "bunion blog" will have been nothing less than delighted with the academic-level research combined with gentle O'Briain-style wit displayed herein.

But I suspect that those gentle readers drawn here by searches such as "cutting my toe" and the more obvious "dipping dangling" were looking for something slightly more risque.

I am of course assuming that the former is a further niche of the niche section of foot fetishism described in this post. Otherwise I can't begin to imagine what "cutting my toe" was intended to lead to, and I don't think I want to.

Although I like to think that the person searching for "cast and swollen toes" was less a member of the foot fetishist army - a foot soldier, if you will - than someone trying to research their own forthcoming surgery and to see what might become of their feet.

Otherwise the whole foot fetishism thing is getting way out of control.

Interestingly, searches for the three types of feet, or specifically for Greek feet, or Roman feet, although curiously not Egyptian feet, crop up at least once a week. Before I'd stumbled on this categorisation of feet, it would never have occurred to me that it was such a hot topic here on the internet. Who knew?

So, dear reader, should you have come here via some search terms you hoped would lead you to something different, perhaps even videos of women standing bored and indifferent as they slip their feet in and out of some cheap stilettos bought especially for your viewing - and I use the word quite specifically - pleasure, then I apologise.

But if you were hoping, as you searched, that you'd find a blog written by someone going out of her mind with boredom and frustration and desperate to get her casts off her feet before they turn entirely into scaly lizard talons, then welcome, you've come to the right place.

And if you ended up reading all of this because you just searched for "scaly lizard talons", let this be some consolation.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Another day, another pair of shoes (with pictures)

With just a week to go before I get my casts off (eight more sleeps!) I thought I'd share with you the extremely unattractive velcro shoes I've been wearing since the operation, the really quite unattractive trainers I've had to buy to wear for the next however-many weeks, and the simply beautiful heels I hope one day to be able to wear.

First-up, the velcro beauties. I've had to wear these all the time since the operation. They have a hard solid sole that doesn't bend, to protect my joints as they heal.

They are black, fasten with velcro, only come in one orientation (there's no left and right, each shoe is exactly the same) and are frankly awful.

As you can see, they are particularly clunky and in my opinion they don't even fit! My toes hang over the end so they feel really vulnerable.

I cannot wait to be rid of these.

Originally I planned to spray paint them a metallic blue and then paint the soles red as a cheeky nod to Louboutin. But the spraying needed to be done outside, so I had to ask the hubby to do it...nuff said.

Anyway, as of next Tuesday I'll be able to wear trainers.

Many of you might be thinking "that's great". That would be people who like trainers. I hate them.

I am still seething at having had to spend my money on a pair of trainers, and although I tried to find the most attractive pair I could (attractive trainers, surely an oxymoron) I'm not happy. It's partly because, obviously, I can't try them on.

This is them.

I think they are maybe just about bearable.

Let's have a closer look at the metallic details.

I am a little concerned that they are too narrow in the forefoot, but luckily I bought them from Schuh who have a 365-day returns policy! As long as they are in saleable condition, I have a whole year to send them back. So when I go to the hospital next week I'll also take some other trainery things and the surgeon can choose what he thinks is best.

Worst case scenario: he says no to all of them.

Then I'll just wear the velcro beauties home and get ordering more from Schuh! At least I'll be able to try them on by then.

And lastly, here are the aspirational shoes for the future, my £16 Next bargain beauties.

Aren't they lovely?

Let's just have a close-up of those adorable sequins.

I'm looking forward to wearing them - maybe for Regatta in July. Well, it's good to have a goal.

Sunday, 13 January 2013


The thing I've noticed about the NHS, apart from the unreliable quality of care and general shabbiness of its buildings, is that it operates on its own version of the need-to-know basis.

Usually that means you get to know only that which you need to know, at the time you need to know it.

My experience of the NHS is that they operate more by telling you only some of what you need to know at the time you need to know it.

Which I guess is why I have no idea whether, at the moment, I am allowed to walk around lots on crutches, or if I'm supposed to walk only a bit, and whether it's OK to walk without my crutches (which I have been doing because I'm very stable now).

Today I was at a first birthday party (doing an entertainment slot of action songs, I love doing kids' parties!) and one of the guests was an orthopaedic theatre nurse. The last party I went to I met someone who works in healthcare as well. I seem to be attracting these people right now!

Anyway, this lady told me I should be "completely non-weight-bearing for six weeks".


"Oh yes," she said. "The bones in the foot are very small and they need to heal."

So now I'm totally confused.

Am I supposed to be resting still? My surgeon just told me to elevate my feet when I'm sitting but he didn't say how much sitting I should be doing.

I thought I was erring on the side of caution by mostly not walking anywhere, but now I wonder if I shouldn't be doing that?

The orthopaedic theatre nurse lady did say it was OK to be using crutches, so I'm thinking maybe I should just be keeping my weight off the front of my feet, and if so, I'm probably OK as I have been mostly doing that. (Apart from a few exploratory times when I've put my weight down through my whole foot. And to be honest, it's felt fine.)

Hopefully that hasn't done me any damage.

But how much easier would this process be if I'd been given some actual information, and comprehensive information at that?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Day 37 - progress, pain and a move

Over the last week or so, I have noticed some definite improvements in my feet, and some small leaps forward in my recovery.

The biggest thing is: I have moved base camp downstairs.

This is a huge step forward. Instead of spending most of the day sitting in bed, and napping occasionally, I have now set up my camp on the sofa.

In addition, I can do a little bit of housework (I'm sure that must be a positive thing, honest) and get myself food/drinks as long as I don't overdo it.

This morning the Little Lady went back to preschool, so I tried to clear up a bit of the mess around the house.

I sat on my bottom on the floor to tidy up her toys, and then did a little bit in the kitchen, putting a wash on and loading the dishwasher (because the hubby thinks putting stuff in there is optional - he seems to like to 'decorate' the worksurfaces with dirty plates).

After 45 minutes my feet were really objecting, and now I can feel they have swollen up, but if I can do half-hour bursts one or two times a day then at least I can start getting back to normal.

In terms of pain, it seems to be changing as time goes on. A week ago my main issue was scratchy, itchy pain at my incision sites, which was worrying me because a big post-op fear for me is that I will scar badly.

But now, the pain has changed. I do still get scratchiness where my incisions are, but all last night the worst pain was deep inside my left foot, a cross between the pain of a bruise, and the agony of when you whack your foot hard against something.

Every time I rolled over in bed it throbbed agonisingly, and my feet also seemed to heat up inside the bandages - they were so hot it was uncomfortable.

It makes a change, though. In the last week I have noticed that often, my feet feel like they are icy cold. You know how they feel when you are totally freezing and they have lost almost all sensation?

Well, I get that feeling a lot but when I actually touch my toes they are warm. Weird, huh?

It's quite disconcerting and can be almost painful, but it must just be part of the complex healing process.

I must admit, I'm quite excited about getting the casts off and seeing what's going on under there.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Shoes! (with pictures)

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good shoe. I think until I had the Little Lady I was, to paraphrase John Lewis, never knowingly in flats.

I adored heels. I am a woman who once threw out 40, yes, FORTY, pairs of shoes and STILL had 70 pairs left. That is how much of an Imelda I am.

I have shoes in the porch cupboard, shoes in the spare room, a whole cabinet in the bedroom devoted to shoes, and still yet more shoes in my wardrobe. I wouldn't be surprised to open a kitchen cupboard and find a pair (especially not having seen the state of the kitchen this morning! Eek! My husband is definitely NOT a clean freak).

So when I was offered a VIP slot for the Next Christmas sale, I kinda had to go have a look, and of course none of the clothes I liked had been reduced but there were a number of pairs of super-cute shoes just crying out for a new home.

So far, only two of the three pairs I ordered have come. I also did order a lovely dress which I'm hoping will arrive in time for my birthday. It's sparkly and glam and only really a Going Out Out dress, which usually I don't buy because I rarely go Out Out these days, but it was cheap and it has small sleeves (rare on a nice dress) and, and...

Anyway, so I thought I'd share with you the two pairs I have received so far. Now, I know I won't be wearing these any time soon. I'm thinking maybe next winter they will get a chance to be on my feet. I have no intention of rushing my recovery, but at £16 a pair - yes, that's right, just £16 a pair - I figure that if they end up not fitting I can just sell them on.

The first pair I think might be OK before winter. They are a mid heel, and fairly wide, with a strap over the front for security (we all know that open court shoes, or pumps for my American readers, make you use your toes to keep them on), and they are just the most funkalicious leopard print on ponyskin too! (Actually, it is probably cheaper cow hide, but it has a lovely hairy feel.)

Look at that darling cone heel!

I know they're pointy, but I reckon that occasional wearings won't be too bad. I've definitely read that other people who've had this surgery can wear normal shoes later on, and if I am careful I'm hopeful I won't have to sell on my entire shoe collection.

The other pair are a bit naughty really. They are high, too high really for operated-on feet, but they are silver teamed with nude croc! I mean, who could resist? Add in an ankle strap (one of my weaknesses) and a peep toe (another one) and I could not refuse these shoes if you paid me.

Beautiful, huh?

I'll share the other pair with you as soon as they arrive later this month. Suffice to say: high banana heel, nude suede, cross-over peep toe detail...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dangling, dipping, and other things you don't want to know about feet

In an effort to keep this blog interesting while all I'm doing is sitting around in casts with not a lot to say, I occsionally try and google interesting foot- and bunion-related stuff.

Now, teh interwebs being what it is, this has its dangers.

Just like when I was researching painkilling drugs and ended up on a forum that told me all about how to get the maximum high from various legal and illegal drugs (no, you can't have the address), looking into feet and the type of shoes I might be able to wear after the casts come off took me into a similarly bizarre hinterworld.

That of the foot fetishist.

To me, the words 'dipping' and 'dangling' are pretty innocuous. You dip pitta bread into hoummous and you dangle a worm on the end of a fishing line, right?

Well, if you're the kind of man who is into feet, those words mean something else.

They seem to be major keywords for men who somehow get their rocks off by watching women's feet in shoes.

Seriously, that's all there is to it.

'Dipping' is when women are standing up and take a foot out of their shoe before putting it back in again, you know like after a long time on your feet and your shoes hurt?

'Dangling' is when you're sitting with your legs crossed and you allow your shoe to hang off your toes instead of wearing it properly.

All highly erotic stuff, apparently.

Mind you, it's not exactly X-rated. YouTube seems full of videos of it. At least, that's what you get on your search using those as keywords (yeah, I kinda wanted to know more. I used to be a journalist, what can I say).

I did watch one, in the interests of research, and it was six minutes of a woman's feet - not even her head as well, or maybe that's part of the point - sticking her feet in and out of shoes or dangling them on her toes.

Seriously, no naughty stuff at all (thankfully).


There's clearly a market for that kind of thing, which makes me wonder if that's why my first post - My name is Emma and I am a foot fetishist - is one of the my most-read? Am I coming up in searches for things a touch more exotic than bunion surgery?

Food for thought.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A post on pain at day 30 (or four weeks, or one month)

I think I last properly posted about pain levels a week after surgery. At that point I was still on lots of drugs but not experiencing any pain to speak of. After two weeks I had the casts replaced, came off the painkillers on my surgeon's say-so, and still didn't experience pain.

In the last two weeks though, things have changed.

I don't know much about healing, but my theory is that the body concentrates on the deepest level of injury first, and then moves outwards. So I'm guessing that the first bit of healing that happened was my bones.

Now my body seems to have turned its attention to my incisions, and to the tendons and flesh around the joint that was cut and moved.

I say that because over the last couple of weeks the soreness and tenderness around my incisions has become quite painful. Most of the time my incisions feel scratchy in a painful way, and also itchy.

I also find that moving my feet causes pain deep inside them, like a dull throb, as though there's a big bruise inside, which actually, there is.

I haven't gone back on any painkillers, although it has crossed my mind, mainly because it isn't *that* bad, and I think that a bit of pain prevents me from overdoing things.

I see that as a good thing, because I don't want to jeopardise my recovery in any way, and I'd rather be temporarily frustrated now than permanently frustrated with my feet later.

But I am surprised at how little I can do even now. I had thought that after a month I'd be moving around the house quite a bit, able to cook and do a bit of housework, but half an hour of my feet being down and they are swollen and sore.

In fact, the last few days they've been sore all the time, even when lying in bed.

I am seriously thinking about hiring a mobility scooter because the hubby has to go back to work (he is working from home this week) and I can't see how I am going to get the Little Lady to preschool on my crutches.

I don't feel able to keep her safe at all, and although I have lovely friends who have offered to help, I don't want to impose on people too much.

I really am counting down to having the casts off now, although I suspect that then I'll be in a different kind of pain from trying to learn to walk again.

Well, I guess I did know this was a slow process.

On vanity, with pictures

Spending all this time in bed has done nothing for my glamour quotient, I can tell you.

Unwashed hair scragged back into a ponytail, bare toenails poking dully out from bandages, no make-up, outfits consisting of tracksuit bottoms at best, pyjama bottoms at worst - something had to give.

The problem with being in the casts and bandages for so long is that my feet have inevitably got a bit manky. Not being able to soak them, or exfoliate, coupled with the constant pressure on my heels whether I'm lying down with my heels on the bed, or walking around on my heels, has left them looking really dry.

I also had a peek under the bandages the other day and eek! I had read that the skin would be dry and scaly but oh my goodness! It's like I've become half lizard. Yuck.

And it is so hard to do anything about it right now.

If you can stomach it, here are some pictures of my dry heels.

This is the left heel. This one is the better looking one, if you can imagine that.

And this is the very scaly right one.


I am itching to soak them and get rubbing with my foot file, but I can't. So I tried putting loads of body butter on them. I like Dove pro-age nourishing body butter, it smells nice and is easily absorbed and also not too pricey.

This is the heels after:



As you can see, they do look better, but it hasn't really lasted and feels a bit like plastering over the cracks.

If you're wondering what the black spot is on the side of my heel/ankle, it seems to be some kind of bruise. I have them on both feet and they appear to be fading very slowing. I assume they were caused by a clamp during surgery but I don't actually know.

For New Year, I went to a friend's party. The hubby drove us there and I hobbled in on crutches and then spent the whole night on the sofa with my feet up on a crate of beer! Good times.

I actually ended up really sore after that evening. I got ready as quickly as I could, but even sitting on a chair to do my make-up made my feet painful, so even before I had left the house I was in a lot of pain and it was really hard to walk.

When I got home again, they were horribly swollen and I had to use pillows overnight to elevate them while I slept and try and reduce the swelling.

I'm obviously not really ready yet for doing very much, which is quite frustrating.

I did look glam for my night out though:

My friend came round and helped my dye my hair, and then I did some experimental blue glitter eyeliner wings on my eyes.

Finally, I made sure my feet weren't left out and gave them what I call a Dorothy pedicure - red glitter!

I took that picture on New Year's Day, and you will notice I even managed to force my casts through the legs of my slim fit jeans! Hurrah! I can wear decent clothes again. Wouldn't want to try it with skinnies though.