MURPHY'S LAW Scooting around with new challenges

By Patrick Murphy

I’m going to need a chauffeur.

At the end of the month I’m going to have surgery to repair a hammertoe I ignored far too long.

I won’t be able to put any weight on my foot, so I’ll either be on crutches or a scooter for about four weeks.

I’m guessing I’ll go with the scooter, since that might be a little easier to navigate, but I don’t know for sure since I’ve never used crutches or a scooter.

I will have a small wire sticking out the end of my toe, like a rod or a pin that is placed in a broken bone to keep it in place as it heals.

Once the toe is healed, the wire will be removed. Sounds like fun.

I also have been battling plantar fasciitis since April.

I get this problem every year, but usually I feel it after I have spent the spring and summer months running, but this time the pain cropped up early and got worse walking around Disney World in May, and hasn’t gone away.

I had a steroid injection last week, and I stretch it throughout the day in hopes it will go away.

On top of that, I have another toe heading toward hammertoe status that I need to tape in the opposite direction it is growing.

That’s a lot of feet problems, almost enough to make me feel like I’m getting old.

Hammertoes develop, I have learned, when the muscles and ligaments near the toe joint get out of balance and makes the middle joint of the toe buckle. It most likely happens in the middle three toes. 

My hammertoe is the second toe on my right foot.

There are two types, the flexible hammertoes where you can still move your toe at the joint. 

Then there is what I have, the rigid hammertoe. The tendons in the toe are rigid and press the joint out of alignment. The toe cannot be moved and leads to surgery, which is where I am heading.

I’m not looking forward to surgery and the month of moving around on a scooter, but I am looking forward to having a functioning toe again, one that doesn’t make my daughter, Claire, grimace when I take off my sock.

I’ve had surgeries before, so I’m not worried about it, but I have never had my ability to walk and get around impaired.

Navigating on the scooter will be a new challenge, and I will have to become more aware of the terrain as I travel sidewalks, streets and getting in and out buildings. It will probably be a real awakening of what others who have to watch their step go through.

This is another reminder that we get one body and need to take care of it, and this surgery is one of doing that, and the rest is up to me.

Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor at The Telegram.