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Foot & ankle surgery

Get fast access to expert treatment for foot and ankle problem

At Albyn Hospital, our Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons see patients with a full range of foot and ankle disorders and diseases.

Patients typically come to our clinic with a foot or ankle problem that causes one or all of the following:

  • Pain
  • Loss of function
  • Deformity
  • Instability.

A proportion of patients may have been injured – and relatively recently too. They may have a sports injury, causing an ankle sprain, for example. This can damage the ligaments of the tendons and can involve soft tissue deterioration.

Patients may have injured their ankle years ago, though, which means they now go over on their ankle frequently – this is called chronic ankle instability. Over time, this could lead to arthritis in the ankle joint.

In the foot specifically, our surgeons see all conditions, including:

  • Irritation and pain in the ball of the foot
  • Big toe pain and deformity – the most common being bunions, or arthritis in the big toe.

Working up through the mid foot, our surgeons also see patients who have problems with fallen arches or a high arch, both of which can be the result of soft tissue problems. If the joints are well preserved and there is no damage to the cartilage, the condition is due to the tendons or ligaments being stretched out and not functioning as well. In the more advanced stages of this condition, it can result in mid-foot arthritis, deformity and pain.

Patients will visit us at different times and stages of their condition, depending on how recently their symptoms have started. It may be that, if there hasn’t been a specific injury, they are finding it difficult to get into footwear, due to swelling or the changing shape of the feet. Alternatively, patients may find the footwear they wear becomes uncomfortable.

Our team here at Albyn Hospital is 50/50 male to female. There are not as many female consultants in the private sector, but some women want to see a female surgeon and that option is available to them here, particularly for women who want to get back into high heels.

If you have a wedding coming up, for example, you want to wear something that’s attractive. Heels boost confidence and for many patients who like to wear heels, foot-related issues are about more than how the foot feels.

The feet and ankles are the fundamental support system of the whole body – and our Consultant takes a holistic view, to understand not just the pathology in front of them, but how it is impacting the patient.

Foot disorders can affect every aspect of your life. It is not uncommon for people to say they have felt frustrated in the past; they have perhaps seen multiple professionals and struggled to get an answer. This can affect their mindset, and low mood is therefore not uncommon, both in males and females.

Working with other healthcare professionals, our Consultant aims to make the process as smooth as possible. He or she will take a full medical history and ask you about your symptoms and how they are affecting your day to day life.

Our consultants spend plenty of time getting to know the patient, to understand how their symptoms are affecting them. That includes not just what shoes they are wearing, but what they do for a living, their hobbies and pastimes – if they play tennis or golf, for example – and if they have stairs at home.

Any imaging required thereafter depends on whether the condition affects solely the soft tissues or if a bony component is involved, as well as if there is any concern around arthritis.

Our team works very closely with allied health professionals, such as podiatrists and physiotherapists, to get patients back on their feet as soon as possible.

X-rays can be carried out the same day, if required. Ultrasound and MRI scans need to be booked in for a later date. A CT scan can usually be performed relatively quickly, if needed, in advance of having a total ankle replacement.

If possible, our Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon will chat with patients virtually before their consultation – online or over the phone – to minimise how much time they spend in hospital.

In the last 10 years, there has been significant advancement in the range of procedures our team can offer patients. Surgery isn’t always the only option; splints can be used, orthotics, moon boots or injections to nourish the cartilage, to allow patients to rehabilitate much quicker.

Our team also focuses on biomechanics and the support underneath the foot and ankle. Working with orthotists, our surgeons may suggest custom insoles to give patients the appropriate support underneath the foot and ankle.

A significant number of patients can be managed without the need for surgery.

When it comes to surgery or more advanced non-surgical options, our team focuses on preserving joint motion (via a minimal access approach) and maintaining mobility within the foot and ankle, whilst giving them the necessary support through the rehab process.

The majority of foot and ankle surgery is performed as a day case. Our surgeons work closely with specialised anaesthetists to ensure you can mobilise quickly - and even if an ankle replacement is needed, it’s a one-day procedure.

A minimal access approach may mean using very small incisions, either through keyhole surgery or percutaneous surgery to minimise the disruption of the soft tissues. This reduces pain and swelling post-operatively too.

Our surgeons may ‘replace’ cartilage (using patches which can be used on certain joints in the foot and ankle.

Joint replacement may be offered for toes or for the ankle. Principally, this depends on how much deformity there is and how advanced the joint wear and tear is.

Foot and ankle fusions are historically the go-to procedure for some patients, particularly around the mid-foot. This can be performed either as open surgery, or if patients would prefer a more accelerated rehab process, minimal access approaches are an option.

Albyn Hospital is a well-established hospital and the only private hospital in the north east of Scotland. Our team is dedicated to ensuring we can see and diagnose patients rapidly and offer a bespoke treatment plan for all patients.

Our Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeons see patients from Shetland, Orkney, Inverness and further afield. Our team aim to ensure patients are in hospital for the shortest time possible and will try to rehabilitate you locally too.

The beauty of tele-medicine is that follow-up appointments and results can be given remotely.

If you think you have an issue, says our Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon, visit the hospital for a chat. Our team can address issues early on, with a view to preventing deterioration of any disorders.

If, for example, you have ankle arthritis – and this can affect a younger age group, too (usually as a result of trauma) – there are ways we can help before an operation is required.

Why choose Albyn Hospital for foot and ankle surgery?

If you’re looking for a foot and ankle surgeon in Albyn, Albyn Hospital provides a wide range of consultant-led appointments. Here are some reasons you might choose Albyn Hospital for this specialty:

  • Flexible appointments and shorter waiting times – At Albyn Hospital, waiting times are short and appointment times are flexible.
  • Consultant-led appointments – Your appointment will be consultant-led, and you will see the same person each time you visit – from your consultation, right through to any treatment needed.
  • Patient satisfaction and personalised care – Albyn Hospital has been awarded a 98.1% patient satisfaction score, with the results compiled by independent agency, Quality Health.
  • Remote consultations – You may have the opportunity to use a platform like Microsoft Teams to chat to a consultant from the comfort of your home.
  • A multidisciplinary clinic – Our team offers a multidisciplinary approach to your healthcare.


To make an appointment with our consultant orthopaedic surgeon here at Albyn Hospital, simply call our friendly team on 01224 595993. Alternatively, you can head here to book an appointment online.

Specialists offering Foot & ankle surgery

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Mr Steven Hamilton

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

BSc Med Sci, MB ChB, MRCS, FRCS (Tr & Orth)

Albyn Hospital

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Mr David E Boddie

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB ChB FRCSEd (Tr & Orth)

Albyn Hospital

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Mr James Bidwell

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


Albyn Hospital

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