A Tale of a Broken Foot: Navigating Life in a Moon Boot

As it happens, I broke my foot about two weeks ago. In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t skydive, compete in a kung fu championship, or even attempt to learn a new salsa move. This incident was pretty trivial, occurring during a seemingly routine walk back home. I tripped over a twig, fell down looking perfectly normal, and got up with a broken foot and a scraped elbow.

The journey from injury to recovery has been filled with interesting observations and encounters. Many people I chatted with about their injuries assured me it could have been worse – a really bad break requiring surgery, steel screws, and metal plates. 

Fortunately, mine was a clean break, but regardless, I find myself bound to wear a moon boot for the next six weeks and avoid any strenuous activity during the three-month recovery period. Needless to say, I’m not overly excited; it feels like a COVID lockdown striking back.

Yet, amidst the challenges, there are some perks to hopping around on one foot. 

Social Encounters and Challenges

The moon boot becomes a great conversation starter, leading me to interact with a variety of people – from complete strangers to neighbours who usually only exchange a brief hello. These interactions have revealed that the reactions generally fall into three categories:

The first category treats you the same way, whether you have a moon boot or not, perhaps seeing you as a slightly slower person needing extra space on a train. 

The second category, however, takes advantage of your slowness, with individuals overtaking you on the street or racing to catch a train just before you. 

As for the third category, my favourite, these are the ones who see the moon boot as a conversation starter – to share stories, cheer you up, and on a personal level.

Navigating Life Like a Pirate

Previously enjoying Latin dances and weekend boxing sessions, I now find my options severely limited. However, I discovered that even on one foot, you can still work out in the gym with a bit of creative thinking involved. For instance, if you can use stationary bikes with an undone pedal strap or a rope skiing machine-thing with a fitness cube for cardio. 

YouTube University comes to the rescue with all kinds of moon boot workouts. My favourite is a doctor who created and recorded a gym routine for his injured competitive runner wife. He gets my vote for the Husband of the Year award.

Fun Fact: Moon Boot Fashion

A fun fact – did you realise that when wearing a moon boot you only wear one normal shoe? This creates some practical challenges. Socks aren’t waterproof, leading to awkward situations when navigating puddles. Additionally, the moon boot’s design leaves toes exposed, making them prone to getting cold. Also, it feels pretty funny packing only one running shoe in the backpack when heading to the gym.

Medical Adventures: Your Mileage May Vary

Medical encounters, particularly in the emergency room, highlighted the overwhelmed nature of our public healthcare systems. During my initial visit to ER, I received a lot of attention including a free ride in a wheelchair. 

Once doctors figured out my condition on the follow-up visit I got 2 minutes with a doctor, an instruction to wear a boot for 6 weeks and “she will be alright” with a pat on the shoulder.

Quitting Smoking: The Unintended Motivator

I was curious about doctors repeatedly asking if I smoked. Research later (read lots of googling “smoking with a broken foot”) revealed that smoking slows down the bone healing process, making it a crucial factor in recovery. Luckily, I’m not a smoker, but I would quit on the spot if that was the case. Cigarette puffers usually get their foot plastered in a cast where I walked away with a removable moon boot. 

Coffee Chronicles: No More Snobbery

I hope none of the people who run a coffee shop around my office read this, but there are really only two good coffee places where I go. To reach either of them, you either have to climb many stairs or walk for about 10 minutes. Now my options are fairly limited and I can’t really be picky about what I drink.  I jokingly told someone that they had to break my foot to start drinking coffee from one of these cafes.

Gym Dilemmas: Pausing Memberships

I recently signed up for the trial with a dance studio closer to work. Half of their terms and conditions page talks about how they will not refund anything under any circumstances.

That’s not unusual. But what I found, is they’ve been really accommodating if you actually have a real injury. When I sent them my doctor’s certificate, they were pretty happy to give me an extension even on a trial membership.

Unexpected Memorabilia: The Concert Twist

The night when I broke my foot, I was actually coming back from  Paul McCartney’s concert. It was a really fun night. I frankly had low expectations because I didn’t follow Paul as much as the Beatles. But Paul put an amazing act together and was also generous with singing the Beatles’ original songs.

A lot of musicians would rarely play their old songs wanting to focus everyone’s attention on the new stuff. Paul’s gig was different as he played about six or seven original Beatles songs that made everyone go into this ecstatic bliss of happiness.  As if you were transported back in time to the glorious 60s. 

The performance, sound, atmosphere, everything was on point and coming back from the gig in the crowd of people was hard to see.  And on a dark street,  thousands of people, that’s where my accident happened.

At the ER the doctor asked me what I was doing when I fractured my foot and I told him exactly what happened.  I’m not sure if it was my way of explaining things,  or if they were busy from a night shift. But what I have written in my diagnosis is exactly this.

The presenting problem was a painful left foot. Self presents with a painful left foot after slipping on a tree twig last night while at the Paul McCartney concert.  No head strike.

So here it is.  I’m still deciding whether I want to frame this and put it on the wall together with the wristband and a ticket. 

Reflections: A Temporary Setback

As I patiently wait for my foot to heal, I reflect on this unexpected turn of events. While not being able to freely move around sucks the experience has brought connections, lessons, and a newfound appreciation for having mobility. Just today I saw another guy wearing a boot at the gym and we instantly became best buddies after swapping our stories.

The broken bone is a temporary setback, but it serves as a reminder of the importance of adapting, finding humour in adversity, and cherishing the stories life unfolds.

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