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Private bunion removal surgery in Dorchester

Bunion surgery is a surgical procedure to remove bunions. Successful bunion surgery can reduce the discomfort and pain bunions cause

A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bony lump on the side of your foot or feet at the base of your big toe. The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but the condition is commonly associated with arthritis and thought to be linked to genetics. While it was previously thought to be the result of poorly fitting shoes, we now believe this to be unrelated.  

Bunions can cause pain, swelling and redness along the side and bottom of your foot. They also cause your big toe to point toward your other toes, making wearing shoes and walking difficult. Bunions do not always cause symptoms at first, but they can become progressively painful and bothersome.  

The nature of bunions ranges from mild to severe regarding their look and feel. Some people experience mild bunions that cause low levels of pain and discomfort and are only a small bony lump at the side of their foot. For these people, treatment options such as painkillers and heat therapy are usually effective in resolving their pain, if and when it flares up.  

However, for people with severe bunions that cause significant levels of pain and a large, bony deformity, managing symptoms can be challenging, meaning surgical treatment is the best option. If you are struggling with the effects of bunions, seek advice from a specialist, who can direct you toward the best course of action for your condition.  

At The Winterbourne Hospital in Dorchester, our team of brilliant Orthopaedic Specialists are highly experienced in the tailored treatment of bunions. They will be able to recommend whether you need bunion removal surgery to eliminate your symptoms. Surgery is the only way to remove bunions, although they can be treated and managed with non-surgical treatment options such as bunion pads, orthotics, heat therapy, specially designed shoes, and painkillers. If your bunions are causing you unpleasant symptoms and interfering with your everyday life, bunion removal surgery might be the best treatment option for you. 

Studies show that bunions are one of the most common chronic foot complains presented to foot and ankle specialists. And while bunions are prevalent, they are also highly treatable. If you’re battling joint pain or any other distressing symptoms caused by bunions, take control of your health and wellbeing today by booking a consultation with one of our Consultants online, or calling us on 01305 263252. We’ll help you find the best course of treatment for your personal circumstances.  

Do I need bunion removal surgery?

  • You are experiencing numbness in your foot or feet 
  • You are experiencing swelling in your foot or feet 
  • You find your bunion(s) not only painful, but also unsightly, which affects your self-esteem 
  • You are struggling to walk because of your bunion(s) 
  • Wearing shoes exasperates your pain and discomfort 
  • You are suffering extreme pain in your foot or feet
Bunion removal surgery can remove or straighten the deformed bone in your foot to eliminate your bunions and the pain they cause. Your Consultant might recommend bunion removal surgery if you have tried other treatment options such as heat therapy and medication, but these have failed to reduce your pain. This could indicate that your bunion is more severe and requires surgical treatment. 

At The Winterbourne Hospital, we routinely treat people based in Dorchester, Weymouth, Bridport and the surrounding areas. We also welcome patients from further afield, whether in the UK or abroad.  

The cost of private bunion removal surgery at The Winterbourne Hospital starts from £4,538. 

We offer flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care over a time that suits you.

*This is a guide price for treatment when paying for yourself. Your initial consultation and diagnostics are not included in the price. Prices are confirmed in writing after your first consultation with a Consultant Specialist. Aftercare may vary depending on your treatment. Further terms and conditions apply. 

The causes of bunions

Although the exact cause of bunions is unknown, it is often linked to: 

Arthritis 

There are many forms of arthritis. By far the most common is osteoarthritis, which usually happens as a result of wear and tear, and is therefore more common as we get older. Around 9 million people in the UK are affected by osteoarthritis, which affects the smooth cartilage in the lining of our joints, often resulting in pain and stiffness.1

Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which causes your immune system to mistakenly attack its healthy cells, causing the bone and cartilage to break down in your joint. Arthritis can be challenging, but it is also highly treatable with options such as steroid injection therapy, physiotherapy, and medication. 

Genetics 

Bunions can be caused by a hereditary weakness of the toe joint. The condition often runs in families.2

Common symptoms associated with bunions

  • Swelling 
  • Pain 
  • Redness 
  • Stiffness 
  • A bony lump on the outside of the base of your big toes 
  • Hard skin on the outside of the base of your big toes 

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to have your bunions examined by a specialist, who can help find the right treatment for you.  

You can usually see a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us. 
   
During this first appointment, your Consultant will ask about your general health and examine your medical history. They will want to know about any existing medical conditions you have, as well as the current symptoms you are experiencing. They will also want to know how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur and whether you have tried treatment options for them already. Next, your Consultant will gently carry out a physical examination of your foot or feet to assess the condition of your bunions. You might also need an X-ray to confirm your diagnosis. 
 
After this, your Consultant will share more information about bunion removal surgery and whether it might be the right treatment option for you. It is important to remember that your initial consultation is a positive step in your journey toward freedom from bunions, a reduction in joint pain, and improved mobility. Your Consultant is there to answer any questions you might have about surgery and ease any concerns you might experience about having an operation, should this be their advice. 

The timeframe between your initial consultation and undergoing treatment depends on your individual circumstances and whether you have been diagnosed with a joint pain condition or traumatic injury prior to your consultation. 
 
After your initial consultation, our team will make sure you understand the next steps in your journey and how to prepare for surgery, if needed. 

Bunion removal surgery is usually performed as a day case procedure, meaning you can leave hospital on the same day as surgery. It is typically performed under general anaesthetic, meaning you will not be awake when it happens. 

The main operation for bunions is called an osteotomy. This procedure normally involves removing some of the bone around the affected joint, although in some cases your Surgeon will also add a small piece of bone into the joint in order to straighten it as best possible. During the operation, your Consultant will: 

  • Cute or scrape away your bunion using specialist tools 
  • Gently straighten your toe joint 
  • Make a small cut, also known as an incision, in the skin over your big toe 
  • Fix your toe bone in place with metal screws or staples that are fixed under your skin and left permanently 
  • The procedure is minimally invasive and usually lasts for up to two hours. 

Eliminate tripping hazards at home 

You are likely to be less steady on your feet than usual when you get home after surgery. Remember to eliminate any tripping hazards ahead of time, so that you do not trip and fall when you return home. 

Stop smoking if applicable 

Your Consultant might recommend that you stop smoking before surgery, as it can increase the chance of you getting a wound infection, which can slow down your recovery after surgery.

Discuss medication requirements with your Consultant 

Your Consultant will share detailed information about whether you should avoid taking your usual medication before hospital, or the kind of medication you might need to take after. 

The benefits of bunion removal surgery

There are many benefits of bunion surgery, including: 

  • Resolved pain 
  • Resolved deformity 
  • Improved mobility 
  • Improved confidence 

You might feel some pain and discomfort straight after surgery, which is normal. If you need pain relief, you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease your symptoms.  

You will be able to return home on the same day as surgery, but you might need to arrange a lift with a family member or friend, as you will not be able to drive yourself. We can arrange a taxi to collect you from hospital, if needed. 

You will need to wear a cast for four to eight weeks. Most people take six to eight weeks off work to recover slowly and safely after bunion removal surgery. But if your job involves strenuous activity, you may need to be off work for up to 12 weeks. You can usually drive again after you’re able to perform an emergency stop safely, but please discuss this in more detail with your Consultant, and also with your insurance company. 

The bunion surgery recovery timeline is different for every person. It is based on a variety of factors, including your fitness levels and your general state of health. Please discuss what your recovery timeline looks like in more detail with your Consultant, who understands your personal circumstances. They will be able to provide more information on things like when you can change the dressing on your foot or feet, and how best to do this. 

It takes a minimum of nine to 12 months to fully recover from bunion removal surgery. 

Physiotherapy after surgery

At The Winterbourne Hospital we have team of dedicated Physiotherapists who can build a tailored exercise plan around your individual needs in order to strengthen your toe joint s and accelerate your recovery. You can perform these exercises at home as well as in your sessions for maximum results. Physiotherapy can also involve massage therapy to improve your range of movement and reduce any stiffness in your joint. 

Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon Mr Nick Savva is highly experienced in performing bunion removal surgery. We spoke to Charlote Chandler, one of Mr Savva’s satisfied patients, about her experience of bunion removal surgery at The Winterbourne Hospital. 

Charlotte's story


Having suffered from a painful bunion for about three years, I realised it was time to take action and seek treatment. However, I was very worried about the procedure, recovery and healing process, as I suffer from chronic lymphoedema in my legs following cancer treatment. 

Mr Nick Savva was extremely helpful and calm. He explained the procedure options and risks, particularly in relation to postoperative healing and the threat of infection. Nick decided that a standard bunion operation performed minimally invasively would be the most effective and safest form of treatment for me.  

Following the successful operation, I did exactly as I was told to help the healing process. For the next three weeks, I kept my foot elevated as much as possible – about 50 out of every 60 minutes. Although this felt tedious and frustrating, it was worth it, as the wound healed well and without infection. 

My foot is now looking and feeling much more comfortable and I am very much looking forward to being able to wear glamorous shoes again! 

Mr Savva’s Perspective


I met Charlotte Chandler in my clinic in February 2021. She had a classic case of bunions, also called hallux valgus. She had had the lump removed in a procedure called a bunionectomy in London seven years before, but unfortunately, the lump had returned.  

Charlotte was a suitable candidate for surgery in every respect except for one. She suffered from chronic lymphoedema in both legs as a complication of a previous illness, putting her at risk of swelling following bunion removal surgery. This can result in pain, leaky wounds and – if you are unlucky – infection. 

I was concerned for Charlotte both because her feet were permanently swollen and also because she had had a previous operation. However, the operation went well. Charlotte had surgery at The Winterbourne Hospital at the end of March 2021. By mid-May, she was back in her normal footwear and progressing well. 

In my clinic, we insist on elevation of the foot for 50 minutes every hour for at least two weeks after surgery. This helps reduce pain and swelling. Because of this, most of my patients do not need painkillers and our infection rate is as low as 1%. As you can see from Charlotte’s story, this method can be very successful even in complex cases.  

The main risks of bunion surgery are those associated with any operation, which include: 

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Blood clots 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Stiffness of the big toe
  • Pain 

There is also always a chance that the operation won’t sufficiently relieve your symptoms, or that your bunions will grow back over time.  

There are also a number of possible side effects that some people will experience for nine to 12 months while their foot fully heals. These include:  

  • Tenderness at the site of surgery 
  • Mild swelling 
  • Minor aches and pains in your foot 
  • Greater sensitivity in your toes or foot 

At The Winterbourne Hospital, we provide exceptional and personalised services to people from Dorchester, Weymouth, Bridport and the surrounding areas. 

The benefits of choosing to have your private bunion treatment with us include:  

  • Consultant-led care from start to finish
  • Tailored treatment plans to suit your individual needs  
  • Access to the latest technology and on-site support services  
  • En-suite private hospital rooms with your own TV, telephone and radio 
  • 24-hour access to our medical team if you need them 
  • An experienced and dedicated team focused on excellent care, as reflected in our latest satisfaction survey, revealing 98.4% of our patients would recommend The Huddersfield Hospital to their loved ones 
  • Physiotherapy services to help accelerate your recovery 
  • Consultant-led care from start to finish

Begin your healthcare journey today by booking a consultation with one of our Consultants, or calling us online on 01305 263252 .

Specialists offering Bunion removal surgery

Mr Nicholas Savva

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon

MBBS BMedSci FRCS(Eng) FRCS(Tr&Orth)

The Winterbourne Hospital

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