Ipswich: Dispelling health myths about bunions

Julie Crossley, Ashton KCJ

Julie Crossley, Ashton KCJ - Credit: Archant

Legally Speaking with Ashton KCJ

Bunions are not a common topic for media coverage but local medical injury specialist lawyers at Ashton KCJ are being approached by an increasing number of people who have experienced unexpected outcomes from bunion surgery. Personal Injury specialist Julie Crossley sets out to dispel some myths.

We usually associate bunions with elderly women but they can develop much earlier and can be quite pronounced by the teenage years.

They are a result of a deformity in big toe. Quite often they are genetic, but they could also be due to arthritis or poorly fitting shoes.

When you first attend for treatment, non surgical options are usually attempted first.

These are always preferable to surgery but often only ease the discomfort and surgery may be required later as this is the only certain way to correct a bunion. If untreated, a bunion will become bigger and more painful.

Surgery can be under local or general anaesthetic.

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It is usually done in day surgery and is increasingly performed by a Podiatrist rather than an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the medical and surgical disorders of the foot and ankle. It is a relatively new field in the UK where it has only recently become an established medical practice in its own right.

Podiatrists require a specialist university degree but they do not receive the medical training that a doctor does.

The success of the surgery will depend on the severity of the bunion, the surgical procedure and how it is carried out and ensuring that patients rest afterwards.

There are different types of surgery available. Osteotomy involves cutting and removing part of the bone of the toe while arthodesis involves fusing two bones in the big toe. Your doctor should discuss with you which procedure is planned.

Sadly sometimes things do go wrong. Bunion surgery may be up to 85% successful but there is no guarantee that you will be pain free or that the foot will be completely straight.

The surgery may reduce the flexibility of the big toe joint and there may be stiffness. You should be advised of any risks before the surgery and these should be listed on the consent form and discussed with you before the operation. When things go wrong it can be life changing and if you weren’t properly advised of the risks then you may have a claim for negligence.

Julie Crossley

Ashton KCJ

Telephone 01842 768763 or email julie.crossley@ashtonkcj.co.uk.