In my early 20’s I made the mistake of buying some ill-fitting shoes and wore them regardless of them being painfully uncomfortable. The result? Two corns on one toe due to the friction between my toe and the shoe. The corns have bothered me ever since. I’ve tried everything possible to get rid of them, researching new ways online endlessly – and nothing worked.
So, I decided corn removal surgery was the way to go. A new online search commenced. Who is the best surgeon to perform this operation? What is the procedure from start to finish? How good are the end results? What are all the possible things that could go wrong? How much will it cost and will it be worth it?
Having never had surgery of any kind before, I knew I needed to use my bravery quickly before I talked myself out of it. So I went private and paid the price for a quicker consultation meeting and for my surgery to be booked in asap!
I had my surgery with The Harley Street Foot and Ankle Centre. The Doctor I met with was qualified and calm, instantly putting me at ease and feeling more confident that this was the way to go. Make no mistake it was very expensive, but I still felt good about what I was doing and doing it with The Harley Street Foot and Ankle Centre.
In the initial consultation the Doctor took a look at the corns and described the best option for me including information about the procedure and the recovery time. It was in this consultation that I, for the first time in my life, came to realise (thanks to the Doctor pointing it out!) that the toe in question (the one next to the little toe) was slightly longer on my right foot than it’s ‘sister toe’ on my left foot. It was because of this that the corns had appeared on that toe on that foot (along with my poor judgement in shoes!) – that slightly longer toe was having to curl a little more hence causing the friction on the shoes. Apparently, it’s not uncommon to have toes that are a slightly different length to it’s counterpart on your other foot and something a foot specialist is more likely to pick up on – as my Doctor did almost immediately!
Feeling good after the consultation, I booked myself in for the surgery. I took the first appointment they could give me, which was in November 2018. They sent me various documents detailing the procedure and advice sheets. One thing that I didn’t realise was that the surgery wouldn’t take place on Harley Street as I thought it would and was instead in Chingford. Not a million miles away, but not central London either (albeit still accessible via train).
I must admit, on the day of the surgery, nerves kicked in a tad. I considered not going and cancelling. But, reminding myself how much I wanted pretty toes, I trudged on and went to my appointment fearing the worst about having my toe cut open!
At the venue, I was greeted, I waited, I was shown to a room where I would be given a local anaesthetic to numb the toe. Again, formalities about what would happen were described to me. Lets do this! The first awful step (and what would be the worst part of my day!) – the needle for the anaesthetic. I had some colourful words at this point! Then I was left as it kicked in and numbed my foot.
Either before or immediately after the surgery (I can’t remember as I type this!) I was given some pills for pain relief. The surgery took place in a separate room which was connected to the room I was already in. It was light hearted. The radio was on, the Doctor and nurses helping him were chatting away casually. There was a sheet in front of me so I couldn’t see what was going on with my toe – thank goodness! The Doctor who performed the surgery came around to my side of the sheet before he started to say hello and just told me that I shouldn’t feel any pain but may experience a feeling of tugging perhaps. He had clearly done this plenty of times before which helped relax me knowing I was in good hands.
During the surgery I cried! I don’t know why! I wasn’t in any pain. Everyone was really lovely. But yet, there I was blubbering a few tears with my hands over my face! In hindsight it wasn’t even that bad!
The actual surgery probably took 10-15 minutes in total. They wheeled me back into the first room, where I was given all the medication tablets I would need over the next week or so while the stitches were in and a special foot shoe which is designed to keep pressure on the heel. Comfortable that everything was good and I had everything I needed I was allowed to go home! I remember thinking ‘this is a breeze!’. Quick, simple and painless. Ace! The rest of the day was fine (the surgery was at 8am and I was home by around 10am). The anaesthetic wore off gradually, the pills were easy to take and I had no issue of being on foot rest! But the worst (for me) was yet to come….
On the second day, I struggled to take 1 (of the 3) pills. I’m not a huge fan of pills but can generally gulp them down with enough water, but one of them in particular was slightly larger than I would have cared for. So, I haphazardly took them went I could stomach them. I wasn’t in any pain so I didn’t mind too much about missing the painkillers but did my best to take the others. I would describe the ‘pain’ as more of a ‘background’ discomfort – but this of course can vary from person to person.
The most annoying part for me, was sitting around and not being able to put pressure on the foot. For the first day it was fine but I got bored very quickly! Trying to get to the bathroom was a nuisance. On the last couple of days before having the stitches removed the bandage began to fill a little tight which was a little uncomfortable.
I didn’t buy anything special to put over my foot (to protect the bandage from getting wet and in turn possibly infecting the toe) while showering and instead just sat in the bathtub one leg thrown over the edge of the bath to stop the bandage from getting wet! I hopped and crawled around the house when I needed anything and dinners were take-outs. I spent most of my time in the living room watching Netflix (thank you Friends!) and also watched a fair few rugby games (a relatively new obsession of mine) on YouTube! I was desperate for the stitches to be removed just three days after the surgery and went into countdown mode! I only had to wait a week and a half but it felt much longer! And to be honest that was the hardest part for me.
Finally, the stitches came out – not the most enjoyable of experiences! The Doctor seemed happy that the wound had closed and told me to wear comfortable shoes that were spacious (for the swelling) and to step lightly initially. I walked with caution en route home – a combination of not knowing how much I could push my toe and generally just being over cautious with it. The very next day I was back at work and luckily have a desk job. I was limping but walking nonetheless. The following day for some reason it actually felt worse. My toe and the area around it was clearly very bruised and swollen – I definitely could not get my foot in my regular shoes and so I was wearing trainers (which still didn’t feel spacious enough for the swelling) and I considered buying some Ugg’s (or similar) so I could walk better. There still wasn’t any pain, it was just uncomfortable walking with a swollen foot in shoes that weren’t quite spacious enough for it. At home while barefoot it felt absolutely fine. It probably took the best part of a month post having the stitches out to be able to walk more comfortably and without the limp. Fast forward to mid February 2019 it’s still healing and just slightly swollen on the top on the toe. I’ve been living in trainers and flat boots since the stitches came out, but managed to wear normal pumps a couple of days ago at work and while it did feel a little tighter on the foot I was able to walk in the shoes with minimal discomfort. If I knock my foot on something I get a slight ‘twang’ rush through the toe so I’m still being careful and have not been to gym since the surgery and wouldn’t dare any sporting activities right now.
My first post surgery check up was a week and a half ago to check on the progress. The Doctor was happy with where I’m at and anticipated that I’d be ‘healed’ by the 4 month mark (it can take up to 6 months). There’s just a small amount of swelling and a very thin scar line which fades dependent on the individual and mine is quite light so I’m positive it will hardly be noticeable as it continues to heal. and fade. There’s some slight redness where the corn closest to the nail used to be but the Doctor said that should go down too.
So all in all, I’m very happy with the progress. My toe already looks better than it did and it’s still healing so I can’t wait until it’s properly healed and I’m flip flop ready!
Would I do it again? On a really unsightly corn/s that really bothered me greatly (as mine did, absolutely!). I don’t think I would do it on a small corn or if it didn’t bother me much – it’s quite a big price to pay, both monetary and healing wise. But I’m glad I did it and had the opportunity to ask many questions before the surgery to really make sure I wanted to go ahead.
Lina (1) – Horrid toes (0)
Hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to ping me a message if you have any questions about my experience.