The Ouch Factor: Stubbed Toes and Other Woes

stubbed toe

There is a great philosophical debate, largely contested between the sexes, over whether childbirth or being kicked in the balls is more painful. This is a pointless discussion  if you ask me. Childbirth is clearly worse! Obviously it is quite doubtful that many people out there have experienced both so it’ll be down to some time-waster scientists to measure ‘genuine’ results. I am in no position to have an opinion at this point in my life. I haven’t yet popped any kids out. And barring a very unexpected change of personal circumstances, I don’t anticipate being kicked in the nuts anytime soon. So let’s put this question aside and focus on some more minor daily injury risks instead.

The Dreaded Stubbed Toe
It seems a bit ridiculous to be complaining about any kind of minor ailment when one of my best mates has just had back surgery but when you stub your toe, just for a minute or two, the outside world fades away into insignificance. There are various responses to this kind of incident. My personal preference is the ‘swear loudly, close eyes, wince, squeeze the injured foot and hop on the other leg’ reaction. A really solid contact with the edge of the bed/door/unseen object on the floor can sometimes result in an out of body experience for the injured toe. This seems to be worse the smaller the toe. I have accidentally kicked a wardrobe before and genuinely checked the carpet to check that my little toe hasn’t fallen off.

Once It Pops, the Pain Doesn’t Stop
Blisters can be a nightmare for a sportsperson. Just ask Rafa: it’s not easy to grip a tennis racquet with skin resembling third degree burns, never mind hit winners at over 90mph. It’s amazing how a little pocket of air can be so debilitating. The blister pops and it feels like someone has set fire to your skin. Just think of the last time you had a blister on your heel. Even walking can become excruciatingly painful. At my graduation, I decided to sacrifice my chances of actually looking old enough to be leaving university, and wore what I thought was a sensible pair of flat shoes. A couple of hours and two bleeding heels later, I had to walk barefoot to the nicest restaurant in Loughborough (take that as you will). Not so sensible after all.

The “Devastating” Broken Nail
I’m never quite sure whether girls get more upset about broken nails because it ruins their perfectly manicured hands or because it can actually hurt. In all fairness, in a predictably unladylike way, I rarely have long nails and have a strict ‘weddings only’ policy when it comes to the application of nail polish, so it isn’t a problem I’m regularly faced with. The annoying thing about breaking a nail is normally the innocuous way you manage to do it. For instance, putting on a jumper or getting something out of your pocket shouldn’t pose a threat to our personal safety. But they somehow do.

The Cheeky Ulcer
Over zealous chewing can have the nasty potential to spoil a delectable dessert. It all seems so unfair: two weeks of pain whenever you try to eat anything, all because you tried to gobble up your chocolate brownie/apple crumble/sticky toffee pudding a tiny bit too quickly and managed to misjudge your munch. You would think that after 27 and a half years of eating, of which I have probably been using teeth for 26 and a half, I would be able to chew food without eating part of my own face.

Another Bloody Shaving Cut
We’ve all been there. It’s like a scene from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ in your bathroom. Blood pours from your leg or face and however much toilet paper you apply, IT WILL NOT STOP. After several minutes of manic compression (which you gradually get bored of and change to a ‘dab and check’ technique instead) you start to wonder if you’ll need to call an ambulance and arrange a blood transfusion. You curse your careless shaving technique, the clearly faulty razor blade and the fact there are no plasters in the cabinet. Why won’t it just stop bloody bleeding?

Sly Splinters
I had a painful experience with splinters when on a family holiday as a child. It took 17 chestnut needles being impaled into the sole of my foot to make me wish I had listened to my Mum and Dad when they had told me not to walk across the grass barefoot. There were quite a lot of tears during the tweezing. It reaaaally hurt. Splinters tend to sneakily hide themselves just where you are about to put your hand or foot. Sandpaper is an underrated commodity in this world. Keep wood smooth and never leave the house without wearing shoes and gloves.

Head Banging
Whenever somebody smacks their head on something, everybody else in the vicinity sympathetically responds with a collective grimace. A kindly communal “ouch!” is more prevalent than making the person who now has an egg on their head also feel like they have egg on their face. It seems fair enough really. Not only does a bump on the head invariably hurt quite a lot, there’s also a good chance a number of the victim’s brain cells are being killed. It’s sensible to stay on the right side of someone who could be about to turn psychotic on you. I’d say that’s just a smart move by the people whose heads are in one piece.

The Small But Lethal Paper Cut
It looks like nothing…but who would’ve thought that paper could stab you? A paper cut can leave a finger tip virtually redundant for days. It’s small but lethal – the worst kind of injury. No one gives you any sympathy, just that slightly pitiful look: ‘You idiot. You’ve been taken out of the game by a piece of A4. How pathetic.’

So there you have it. A list of unavoidable little injuries that are in fact best avoided. Childbirth might be painful, but at least you get a little bundle of joy for your troubles. Hopefully anyway… (that goes for ‘little’ and ‘bundle of joy’). A shaving cut just leaves you with a scene from a horror movie set in a bathroom and an unnecessary scar. Perhaps hairy legs are just a sensible health and safety decision after all.

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3 thoughts on “The Ouch Factor: Stubbed Toes and Other Woes

  1. I have had back surgery twice. On the occasions I have stubbed my toe, at the time it has seemed worse! That’s the ting with pain. It’s relative. What you’re feeling at the time tends to over-ride previous pain. I have also had kidney stones which are bloody painful. My OH used to dismiss my claim, based on what I was told, that they hurt as much as childbirth and are a very similar type of pain. This was until a female work colleague who has done both said that kidney stones were worse! Having said that a kick in the balls is up there pain wise but the initial extreme pain is quite short lived.

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