Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Toe by Toe


‘Exceptionally fantastic!’ That was the response of Joe’s podiatrist, when he saw his x-ray.

He was referring to the lump of bone on his big toe, that shouldn’t be there. To give it it’s proper name it is, or was,  a subungual exostosis

Joe Uphilldowdale Subungual exostosis

and apparently it is a fine example (I’d actually prefer it if my family would stop having things wrong them that arouse the interest of the medics,  I like to think of us as a healthy family, but honestly, you’d not think so reading this blog.)

All this came about as a reaction to Joe stubbing his toe, last year,it wasn’t really a big deal at the time, in fact no one can  quite remember what it was he stubbed it on, or when, including Joe. We were all waiting for the nail to fall off, which it didn’t,  and I must admit I thought Joe had developed a fungal infection under nail, so it was a bit of a shock and a bad parenting* moment to discover his toe would need surgery (in my defence, remember, I’m married to a fell runner,  men with ugly damaged toe nails are the norm).


Two weeks off his feet, with his leg elevated for 55 minutes in the hour,  and compression stocking. School was off limits, but fortunately Joe was able to schedule the procedure for the start of the Easter holidays (his request the thought of trying to catch up his A level maths lessons was a motivator, this from the boy who hated school). 

It did mean however that Joe was pretty much ‘housebound’ for our holiday in York, luckily part of Joe’s specification for our holiday let, was that it was too have an internet connection, so at least he was able to to keep in touch with his mates and occupy himself with some gaming; here he is in holiday attire.


Something of a fashion statement, do you not think? I’m rather proud of Joe, he was a stoical and patient through out, after two weeks he was able to return to school, with us ferrying him too and fro, and with him being careful to keep it out of harms way and elevated as much as possible.

We’ve learnt that foot surgery is no stroll in the park. You need to take care tootsies I’ve heard many a gruesome tale of long and painful healing by those who have tied to side step the post op care instructions.


Joe gives his consent for me to share the photos of his toe as a work in progress. He says he doesn’t mind who looks at his toe, so long as it isn’t him! It’s not pretty. You could look at the sweet kittens



and then click away. Or if you’re curious….

six days after surgery


Big toe 2

The nail was removed a week later,

Big toe 3

which made things look a whole lot better! Here we are 18 days after the procedure.

Joe toe


*Bad parenting moment, when Tom came home from school with the news that the school nurse said he was under weight and needed his eyes testing as he couldn’t see the blackboard.


Toe by Toe, how Joe laboured through this book, but he got there in the end, and it was a great help

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

6 thoughts on “Toe by Toe

  1. Yuk! I hope it wasn’t too painful, but that seems a bit unlikely. Our boy had ‘non weight bearing’ for two weeks as well. It was a real education as we’d never given much thought to issues like wheelchair access before. Generally it was possible to get out to everywhere we wanted to go. My strategy was generally to just keep pushing, keep those wheels rolling and don’t stop for anything. It worked ok but was rather tiring for the pusher.

  2. Okay it’s gross but I rather love it…oh that’s just me. I too have big toe issues (dropped a rather large cutting board on the big one) so I’m very curious to see it heal. Wish Joe luck on his schooling and healing from me!

  3. we seem to have feet (and shoes) on the brain this weekend! Hope Joe makes a full recovery (fingers are almost as bad)

  4. I am impressed by the impulse to get the school work done. If I had been like that, I might have made something of my life.

  5. GACK! Thank heavens for the comic relief provided by the kitten cats.

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