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Medical Negligence
Bunion Surgery

Bunion Surgery

Bunions are a common form of toe deformity that can affect anyone of any age. While not always necessary, it is sometimes appropriate for surgery to be performed. However, if extreme care is not taken at all times during the operation, a patient may end up suffering further complications.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion, known medically as 'hallux valgus', is a deformity that develops in the big toe. It occurs when the joint at the base of the big toe the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint begins to stick out at an angle. This in turn misaligns the other bones in the foot, which can be very painful.

It remains unclear as to what exactly causes bunions, although it is believed wearing badly fitting shoes is widely to blame. Furthermore, it is suspected bunions may run in families and may also be more likely to affect people with certain health conditions (such as gout and arthritis).

When a bunion begins to develop, it may result in the onset of the following symptoms:-

  • The big toe angles in towards the other toes;
  • A bony prominence sticks out the side of the foot (at the MTP joint);
  • Overlapping of the big toe and second toe;
  • Sore skin on top of the bony prominence;
  • Pain that is made worse when wearing shoes.

Treating Bunions

A bunion may cause someone little or even no problem at all, and in such a case there will be no need for treatment to be given. However, it is likely that a bunion will get worse over time, so it is always a good idea to seek medical advice when a bunion starts to develop.

If a bunion is indeed causing you to suffer, your GP should discuss the different options available. There are a number of non-surgical techniques that may improve your discomfort, such as:-

  • Painkillers;
  • Bunion pads;
  • Orthotics ie. insoles and toe spacers;
  • Modification of footwear.

While these measures may alleviate the pain, the only way to actually correct a bunion is with surgery. There are different types of procedure available, with the most common method being an osteotomy. This involves a surgeon cutting and removing the bony prominence before realigning the bones.

Bunion Surgery and Medical Negligence

Before undergoing bunion surgery, it is important your medical team informs you of the risk involved. Indeed, bunion surgery is only successful in around 85% of patients, as it is possible to be left with a shorter and less flexible toe, which could prevent you from returning to the same level of physical activity.

Additionally, if surgery is not carried out with sufficient skill, there are a number of complications that could arise, including:-

  • Permanent stiffness and/or pain in the toe;
  • A delay or failure for the bone to heal;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis;
  • Prolonged swelling;
  • Thick scar tissue;
  • Complex regional pain syndrome causing chronic long-term pain in a limb.

If you have had bunion surgery that has resulted in complications, you may question whether your injuries were caused by a sub-standard level of care. If so, you should speak to a medical negligence solicitor, as you may be able to make a claim regarding the treatment you received. Should you be successful, you will be awarded compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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