When a perfume bottle fell on Gill Haddington's foot, what seemed like the most innocuous of mishaps instantly left her in agony.

X-rays revealed no broken bones but her right foot continued to swell in the following weeks. The mother of two was left in such pain that 18 months later she took the drastic decision to have the leg amputated below the knee.

Now Miss Haddington, a keen open water swimmer, is happy and active again thanks to a prosthetic leg.

The former nursery nurse, 42, is taking part in a charity swim in the Lake District - and says having the surgery was the best thing she has ever done.


She injured her foot when she knocked the heavy, square-shaped bottle of "cheap" perfume off a chest of drawers in the bedroom of her house in Morecambe, Lancashire, in September 2015.

"It hurt so much I thought I must have broken it - I wish I had," Miss Haddington said yesterday. As the foot swelled, the pain worsened and left her unable to sleep. She developed ulcers on the foot, which started turning in while her toes began to curl underneath.

"I was becoming a prisoner in my own home. I was in constant excruciating pain. I could not walk at all."

She had to rely on her partner, construction salesman Pete Nisbet, 61, and her daughters, Natalie, 20, and Chloe, 18, to feed her and take her out. Sometimes the pain was so acute Mr Nisbet would take her to A&E. She was finally diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome, a condition which causes persistent debilitating pain following an injury.

"I had already started talking about wanting my leg removed, but everyone couldn't believe what I was saying," Miss Haddington said. "My leg was already dead to me, it was the cause of so much pain and unhappiness and I just wanted to get on with my life. I wanted to be able to walk again and to go swimming."

In 2017, a specialist agreed she could have the amputation and surgeons at Royal Preston Hospital removed her right leg beneath the knee.

"As soon as I came round, my partner said to me, "I can see I've got my Gill back". I felt so happy," she said.After months of being in a wheelchair, she received her first prosthetic leg.

"As soon as I got it I said to Pete, "Let's go for a walk", and we walked along the promenade. It was wonderful to be up and about," she said. "The prosthetic isn't perfect but I love it so much - having my leg removed was the best thing I ever did. I don't regret it at all."


Tomorrow she will swim a mile for charity in the John West Great North Swim on Windermere. "I love swimming, I feel free when I swim, nothing hurts," she said. "It's fantastic."