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Stepping out in style after cutting-edge foot surgery

12 September 2017

She’s been a keen mountain biker for over 20 years, enjoys hill walking, high-intensity fitness training and dancing the night away at a Cardiff rock club.

But Rhianon Webb’s ‘keep fit - stay happy’ lifestyle faced two problems – a bunion on either foot!

“I just couldn’t believe how painful they were or how badly they affected my lifestyle,” said 44-year-old Rhianon, a biomedical scientist with NHS Wales.

“Over the last 10 years my feet had become increasingly painful with large, unsightly bunions on both feet and many of the activities I enjoy so much were becoming too painful to endure.”

But Rhianon, who lives in Pontypridd with her cat Loki is now back in the saddle and training for a Tough Mudder Challenge after havening both bunions removed by a foot specialist in Watford.

Mr David Gordon, an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in foot and ankle treatments at Spire Bushey Hospital in Hertfordshire, removed the bunions using a new technique which avoids large cuts in the feet and instead uses several small incisions.

This means less tissue damage, a shorter operating time, smaller scars, less pain and swelling and, most importantly for Rhianon, a faster recovery time. 

He explained: “Minimally invasive bunion corrections can be performed under either general or local anaesthetic and patients can usually walk out of hospital about five hours later.

“Making several small incisions the bone is then cut and corrected, taking away the bunion. The bones are then fixed with small screws and the foot is then allowed to heal naturally. The result is a straight toe – the bunion - and the pain that goes with it - is gone!

“Avoiding the large incisions used in conventional surgery means less swelling after the operation and takes away the need for the feet to be in plaster during the healing period.”

Rhianon added: “I had been advised that normal surgery would result in a long recovery and a big reduction in the mobility in my feet.

“I did some research and found that Mr Gordon was doing minimally-invasive surgery that was getting great feedback from patients. After meeting with him I was convinced he was ‘the man for me’ and booked in to have the operation.”

Back in trainers in next to no time, Rhianon was on mountain bike ride within two month of the operation followed by  intensity fitness training sessions just weeks later.

“I have gone from strength to strength and now, six months post op, I am routinely running five miles at a time and going on 30 mile mountain bike rides - as well as spending all day on my feet shopping with my mum!

“I am preparing for the Tough Mudder Challenge in August, actually it is a Half Mudder as I thought I might ease myself in gently.  I have full mobility and flexibility in my feet and toes and - for the first time in years – I can wear four-inch heels without any pain at all,” said Rhianon.

When she does put her feet up Rhianon is a keen artist, jewellery maker and creator of faerie designs - hobbies she hopes to turn into   a business at some stage.

She said: “I really can’t thank Mr Gordon and his Spire Bushey team enough. I don’t think people who have not suffered with bunions realise how painful and life-inhibiting they really are.

“I do love doing the craft and art work but it really would have been a major change to my life if I had been forced to give up my outdoor activities – and of course dancing to my favourite rock music.”

 

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