Yvonne Pettigrew was in her early fifties when she first noticed that something was wrong. It started with a strange sensation in the soles of her feet, like walking around on balls of cotton wool, or as if there was something stuck in her shoe all the time – a sensation which gradually spread upwards, through her feet and ankles.
Now 66 and living in Shropshire, the retired senior NHS manager says her doctor initially put it down to a musculoskeletal problem and referred her to a series of foot specialists, orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists, none of whom could pinpoint the source of the problem.
When Pettigrew also started having problems with her bowel and bladder, she was referred to more specialists, who struggled to find a physical explanation. In the meantime, these seemingly unrelated issues were taking a serious toll on Pettigrew’s quality of life. Having always loved hill walking with her husband and friends, she now avoided going out for fear of having an embarrassing accident.