Joan: A Life Less Lived Because of Bunions

Asked to evaluate how bunions affected her life Joan Cross reflects with some regret on missed chances and opportunities.

The school receptionist openly wishes Calla shoes had been available years ago. She might then have gone on more walks, play more sport and danced whole nights through.

“Bunions curtailed an awful lot of what I would have done,” Joan said. “I’ve had them since I was 17 years-old.

“If Calla had existed all those years ago it would have been fantastic. They are like having feathers on your feet.

“I think of how much I would have danced. I would have danced all night instead of having a couple of dances and sitting down to slip my shoes off.

She added: “I would have loved to play more tennis. I would have liked to have kept fitter and walked more, even just for blackberry picking or to spend more time outdoors.

“Everything I did, everywhere I went, everything that I was going to do, I first had to consider my feet. My life was literally ruled by them.

“There has been a whole multitude of things that I didn't do, didn't go to and didn't try simply because of my feet.”

The Newcastle lass is like many other women from the party town. She recalls her time in long queues outside popular nightspots, without a coat in the dead of winter.

 “It was the late 70's in Newcastle upon Tyne,” Joan explained. “Everyone was dancing to the sounds of Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, ABBA and the Bee Gees.

“I was in my late teens and can remember slimming myself into a pair of black trousers to look like Olivia Newton-John from Grease.

“I bought a wooden heel with red suede to go with them. I just thought I looked fantastic. I wanted to be fashionable and have fun. I didn't care about the pain in my feet back then, stupid really.

“It’s not for the faint hearted but I have come out of a nightclub after dancing all night and had blood swirling in my shoes. I now look back on it in astonishment.”

At the time Joan was a short haul air stewardess between the UK and Tenerife. She often spent 12 hours a day on her feet.

Joan Cross

The 65-year-old said: “I lived with my parents, I remember coming home and there being a bowl of soapy hot water for my feet.”

Joan added: “People just don’t know how painful bunions are and there is a stigma attached to talking about them. It means women suffer in silence.

“Two people I work with both have bunions, one very badly. We three can talk quite easily about them. It can be talked about when it is known about.

“But when you meet someone for the first time you use code words to describe them like ‘misshapen feet’ and lines like, ‘I am a martyr to my feet’. Those who know, know.

“Everyone assumes bunions are an old lady's thing but I’ve had mine since my teens.

“I wish more women knew about Calla’s shoes, because there must be millions of women who have the problem and don’t know about them.

“If they would see how fashionable they are and what options there are, I think it would change everything for them. They would be able to get much more out of their lives.”


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