Daphne’s story

Daphne's profile for legs matter week

Daphne is a grandmother of five and great grandmother of one. Her long-term problems with her feet began back in the summer of 1999:

“I was walking barefoot along Studland Beach with my family and didn’t realise that I had stood on a razor shell. The shell had cut the sole of my left foot and caused a small wound. I didn’t really pay much attention to it until a few weeks later when I noticed it hadn’t healed and was actually getting worse”

Daphne made an appointment with her GP who told her go to A&E. It was at A&E that Daphne was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and told she needed urgent hospital treatment to stabilise her dangerously high blood-sugar levels:

“I had no idea that I was diabetic. I was always thirsty and drinking gallons of water, but that was the only symptom. The diabetes had caused neuropathy in my feet, which was why the cut wasn’t healing and had actually turned into an ulcer.”

Daphne spent two weeks in hospital having her blood sugars stabilised and her foot ulcer treated, but this was just the beginning of a 21-year ordeal:

“I spent years and years trying everything to heal this ulcer. It would nearly heal but would then flare up again. The diabetes had shortened the tendons on my feet, so they inserted surgical steel screws into the big toes of both feet to try and alleviate the pressure on the ulcer. This didn’t work and actually made things worse because I was allergic to the surgical steel. The ulcer on my foot became infected and the infection travelled into the bones. It was then that they told me I needed to have three toes and part of my foot amputated”

Daphne’s partial amputation of her left foot took place in 2012 – 13 years after the ulcer had first occurred. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of Daphne’s problems with her feet but the beginning of further complications:

“There was still a screw in my right big toe. I had an allergic reaction and had to have the screw removed in 2013/2014. This left me with a huge ulcer on the sole of my right foot. I was on intravenous antibiotics at home for six months. I was very worried about what would happen to my right foot, but my consultant at the diabetic foot clinic was adamant that they would do their utmost to prevent me having amputation.”

Clinicians were able to save Daphne’s right foot but the past eight years have still been hugely challenging for her:

“I have spent the last eight years sitting with my legs elevated and on minimum weight bearing. The ulcer is gradually healing after several setbacks and many different types of dressings, but it’s still hard thinking about all the things I can’t do any more. I used to love walking. I had dogs and I’d walk them for miles and miles. I’ll never be able to do that again. It’s quite soul-destroying really”

Daphne wants people to take their foot health more seriously:

“It’s really important that you look after your feet. The one thing I’d say is to never ever walk around without something on your feet. You have to protect your feet because if you lose or injure one of them, it affects your whole life.”

Need to know more?

Find out more about foot ulcers including what to look out for

Read more about foot ulcers

Other support

NHS Choices the official NHS website, which provides vital information and support about leg and foot signs and other symptoms.

Contact details
Call 111 - for non-emergency medical advice
Find out more on the NHS Choices website

The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation Promoting and supporting community based treatment, health promotion, education and ongoing care for people who are experiencing leg-related problems - including leg ulcers and other wound care issues.

Contact details
01473 749565
Find out more on the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation website

The Circulation Foundation The Circulation Foundation is the UK’s only dedicated vascular charity. They fund and promote research into the causes, treatment and prevention of vascular disease.

Contact details
020 7205 7151
Find out more on The Circulation Foundation website

Society of Tissue Viability (The Society of Tissue Viability) aims to provide expertise in wound management to all healthcare professionals.

Contact details
Find out more on the Society of Tissue Viability website

Mind Mind is the UK’s leading mental health charity. They're there to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone you can call or text for free anytime.

Contact details
0300 123 3393 or text 86463
Find out more on the Mind's website

Samaritans Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress. Call them free any time, from any phone.

Contact details
116 123
Find out more on the Samaritans' website

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