Tuesday 17 May 2016


I've been thinking about toes. Normally you don't even give your toes a second thought. Most of the time (here in Canada, anyway) they stayed covered up, ensconced in socks and shoes, slippers, or boots. I am not a big fan of feet, anyway. The only ones I truly like are little baby feet that you can hold onto because they are so sweet and tiny. My husband used to put our babies' feet in his mouth when they were wee little.
I abhor old gnarly feet with their various afflictions. Being a chiropodist or podiatrist is included on my list of jobs I would never want. My grandmother always had bits of moleskin plastered to an outside toe, or had pads of bandaids attached to parts of her shoes. She always wore sandal type shoes and a dress. No doubt her feet gave her problems.
My friend K. says she has Fred Flintstone feet. Indeed, her feet are rather short and stubby and her toes are thick and rounded, but she often wears a toe ring in the summer and a groovy beachy type of ankle "bracelet" to jazz up her funny little feet.
I worked with a woman who had the strangest feet I have ever seen. Her second toe extended way beyond the length of her big toe. She was a tall woman with large features and her feet were very long. With that extra long second toe they looked very odd indeed.
My own mother had quite narrow feet and often had a hard time finding shoes to fit her well. She was not one for dress shoes and her casual lifestyle of rural living and good, hard work on the property usually found her in running shoes or slip on sandals. As she aged, and eventually ended up in a wheelchair, unable to really stand up for long on her own two feet, she remained in running shoes, a bit too big so they were easy to slip on and off.

But why am I thinking about toes? I am thinking about toes because I smashed the living hell out of one of mine last night when I was about to finish up my night and get ready for bed. I somehow managed to hit my third toe on the edge of the cat scratching post in the hall outside the bathroom. My husband was right there, maybe I was trying to get around him, and he me, I don't know, but I do know that when it happened I was doubled over gasping for air and crying and saying very bad words. What is it with toes that hurts so much??

While I was bending over, hanging onto my husband with one hand and a piece of furniture with the other, all I kept thinking was, "Please don't let it be broken." I have broken  a toe once and it took weeks and weeks to heal until I didn't feel the pain anymore. I'm pretty sure this is the same toe, or maybe it was its neighbour. That break happened in the most innocuous way. I was outside on wet grass in a pair of flip flops (the kind that go between your toes) with a bit of a heel. I had picked up a bag of topsoil, or maybe it was composted cattle manure (ahh the glamour) and started to slip a little on a slight slope, caught myself, over compensated and then felt a rather sickening twinge. It was a twinge that kind of came with a colour. It was a moment of uh-oh, pain, tinged a pale Frankenstein's monster green. Over the next couple of days I watched my toe turn colour. I could barely put weight on it, and the normal gripping motion of walking was almost impossibly painful. I then "googled" the issue and learned to buddy tape that toe to its neighbour which did help me to manage the pain. Putting a shoe on it was out of the question and thankfully it was summer time, so there were a couple of ugly sandals that I could resort to. As I said, it took WEEKS until it no longer hurt and I could properly wear a shoe.

So, all of this was recalled in that split second last night when I smashed my toe. (again?) I  put ice on it for a little bit, but was wanting to go to bed, so took some pain killers and laid down, feeling a throbbing in my toe which I willed to go away as I tried to fall asleep. Eventually I did sleep and this morning, my first trepidatious steps were filled with dread. It wasn't too bad, but that "grip" motion did not feel right. As I look down at my toe right now, it seems to be the same colour as the others, so maybe I came out of this unscathed. I shall see what the day brings. Unfortunately, I am scheduled to take part in a special commemorative walk on Thursday of this week (it is currently Tuesday), so I really hope that this all feels fine by then.

My daughter, a dancer and a runner, had a purple toenail for ages until it eventually grew out. My uncle, a dairy farmer, would occasionally have a black big toenail from when he was stepped on by one of his herd while working between the cows during milking time. A colleague's son had to have a toe amputated after a botched standard procedure ingrown toenail operation went very wrong. The cat my roommate in university owned had extra toes on her front paws and was named Thumbs as a result. (That cat was insane!).

Toes. You don't think about them until you are made aware of them. For something so small, they are so significant.


  1. I don't think anything hurts quite as much as a bashed toe. Hope it doesn't turn blue and that by your walking day it has healed.

  2. Very true! So many things in life, and parts of our body, we take completely for granted, until they hurt.

    Best of luck with this toe.

    Rest.. Elevate... Ice... Compression... :-)

    As to the walk, me-thinks that would be simply asking for trouble. No cause is worth, a week of pain, and possible worse, after. IMHO.


  3. Honey, don't be mad, but I laughed and laughed about you cussing a blue streak with your toe. It made me think of my mom and brother. Brother was in the fridge getting out mom's bowl of potato salad, mom goes thru the kitchen and stubs her toe on the table leg, starts hopping and whistling, brother starts laughing and drops that bowl and breaks it. Mommy said if her toe had not hurt so badly she would have kicked his butt. LOL. Bless your heart, I hope it's not broken and you get better quick. Hey, I don't like nasty feet either. LOL. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

  4. I don't think anyone has nice toes. My two little toes on each foot are misshapen from wearing ill-fighting shoes in my youth.

  5. That is painful! I have bashed a toe and it hurt like crazy. I hope yours heals quickly and completely without any serious problems.

  6. An essay worthy of being published in a podiatry journal! (A podiatrist's journal? Journal of Podiatry? Tome on Toes? Hee-hee.)