Sunday, May 22, 2011

Toe injuries from nothing at all

[I should offer a warning that if you're particularly squeamish about blood, or if you're currently eating, this may not be the post for you!]

Last week, I managed to stub my right big toe whilst walking a 15 minute route back to my office (a route, it may be noted, that I have walked many times before).

I didn't walk into anything, or trip over a rock, or encounter any other object that would offer a reason to stub one's toe. I just tripped on the flat ground I was walking on, and stubbed my toe in the process.

This isn't particularly unusual for me - I trip over nothing far more often than I would like - and so I continued walking. I did notice that my toe hurt rather a lot. I figured it would stop.

When it continued to hurt (rather a lot), I thought I would inspect my toe for signs of injury. I find it surprisingly helpful to back up pain signals with visual confirmation that something is, in fact, injured. Unfortunately, on removing my shoe, I found there was rather a lot of blood. On my toe. On my shoe. On my adjoining toe.

This wasn't where I was walking, but it could have been. See the flat surface? Nothing to trip on. Nothing at all.

Being 5 or so minutes from my office, and in the vicinity of other people, I thought I should try to maintain some outward normality. I also tend to carry bandaids everywhere, for situations just like these. As I was also equipped with tissues, I made the best I could of things and continued back to my office.

After washing and re-bandaiding my toe (and trying to wash my shoe), the day continued in a fairly average way and my toe has been only slightly sore in the aftermath. The thing about toes, after all, is that they bleed rather a lot even with small injuries, due to being at the bottom of the body and thus in prime position for blood to flow down and out.

The thing about my toes, though, is that they go through this sort of experience at semi-regular intervals.

In contrast to the path above, my feet seem to think that all surfaces are like this. 
They certainly act as if many surfaces are like this.

There was the time, in my student years, when I was walking into university and felt like my left big toe was rather uncomfortable, but not unduly so; not enough to stop and investigate. When I reached the campus, I realised that I had somehow rubbed the bottom of my toe in such a way as to induce bleeding. Again, quite a lot. The shoes I was wearing on that occasion were never able to be rescued.

There was also the time, when I was preparing for a 12km fun run, that I felt like my right big toe had the toenail of my adjoining, smaller toe digging in to it. Given that I was on a running roll and didn't want to stop and take off my running shoes some kilometres from home, I continued on. The 'digging in' sensation stopped after a while (perhaps, on reflection, due to endorphins from the running) so I figured my toes had sorted themselves out. I don't grow excessively long toenails, so there shouldn't have been too much conflict happening in my shoes (I naively thought).

As I was nearing the end of my run I happened to glance down at my shoes and was rather alarmed to notice a considerable amount of red on my right toe area. I initially thought it must be mud. Even when I worked out it must be blood, I didn't want to stop and investigate. At that stage, I was rather concerned about what might be inside my shoe.

Fortunately, the toe damage was again small, but the position of feet (and in this case, the running action) had contributed to rather a lot of blood being shed.

I actually took a picture of that shoe, so impressed (in a slightly gruesome way) was I by its appearance.

I know. Sorry. Ick.

I think I'll have to accept that my slight accident prone nature and inability to keep track of my feet will result in more of these events in the future. And on balance, that may be better than less frequent major injuries.

I only hope I don't ruin too many more pairs of shoes.


  1. My sympathies! That's really unpleasant, but I can probably beat you on the toe front... I spent 18 months with an infected/inflamed/swollen toe, had two surgeries, enough antibiotics to liquify my insides, spent my entire four months travelling around Europe and America in winter wearing birkenstocks with a plastic bag over my left foot, and ended up in hospital in Paris. And no one ever figured out what happened to cause it all! AWESOME. :P

  2. @Hannah
    Oh my goodness :( That beats my injuries for sure. How terrible! I can't believe no one knew what caused it either...a tad disconcerting. I hope all is recovered now?? It ought to be after all of that (two surgeries!!).

  3. Oh no!Both of you ought to take care of yourselves (I'm pretty injury prone too though)! I have a habit of browsing through the pictures before reading any post, and your shoes caught my eyes. I went 'ouch', and started getting a little worried.I thought you might have injured your toes by dropping a dumbbell on it or something (that happened to me before). Thank god you're okay!

  4. Ouch that looks painful! Poor toe :(

    I tend to be pretty clumsy, bumping my knees and hips into every table / surface around! Haha

  5. Ouch, your poor toes! I do this tripping over nothing thing too, fairly frequently. My big left toenail is very damaged from repeated abuse!

  6. @Kayla
    Dropping a dumbbell on your toes is not good! I hope your foot survived that experience :-/ I do find it slightly amusing that my photo induced a sense of "what did she do?!", and the answer was "just walk / run". A bit of an anti-climax perhaps!

  7. @Tori (Fresh Fruition)
    Lol, I'm glad I'm not alone in my clumsiness :p Bumping into things is another thing I manage far too would think by now I'd know where my knees / legs / hips are in relation to other objects, but nope, doesn't seem to have sunk in yet!

  8. @Carolyn
    I feel in good company :) I wonder if people ever outgrow this sort of thing or if we're stuck with it for life!

  9. I don't know if it'll ever be properly recovered, but at least I can wear closed-in shoes now!

  10. Oh jeez! That is a really bloody shoe! I was reading along, thinking a little bit, but not that much!
    Your poor toes. This weekend a self done pedicure and foot massage I think is in order. Show those poor little feet some love.

  11. hope your toe is feeling better - seems like you need some time off your feet (by the way, I knew someone who stood up and broke a bone in her foot so it is amazing how you can do really silly stuff and be ok and then you can hurt yourself in every day stuff)

  12. @Johanna GGG
    Oh wow - breaking bones by standing up?? I think I got off lucky!

  13. Crazy! I often get what I call "phantom pain" in my toes, because, on investigation nothing is ever wrong... I don't know which I'd prefer. Your shoes look rough, but I seem to have psycho-somatic pains. :)


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