A woman literally bit off more than she could chew at a burger restaurant when she was left nursing a dislocated jaw.
Nicola Peate, 25, had to have her jaw moved back into place by medics after it locked while she was attempting to get her teeth around a “triple-patty” burger.
The social media manager initially tried to laugh it off when the incident happened during a work night out at Almost Famous, in Parr Street, Liverpool.
After her fiance finished the remainder of the ‘Kids in America Burger’, containing pretzels and candied bacon, the pair made their way home - oblivious to the seriousness of the injury.
But by the time Miss Peate, from Ormskirk, arrived at work the next day the pain had become unbearable.
She said: “I didn’t think I’d dislocated it - you don’t expect it to happen eating a burger! But I tried to eat it with a knife and fork and couldn’t. I couldn’t open my mouth fully.
“It felt like I had cramp in my tongue, then I started to get an ear ache and a headache. The next morning I woke up and felt really, really ill. The whole side of my head was hurting.
“Then it started to feel like it was in my jaw and I knew I’d dislocated it.”
An x-ray in the Emergency Department at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital confirmed her fears and a doctor quickly manipulated her jaw back into place using his thumbs.
“The minute it went back in it was like turning a tap off in my head,” Miss Peate said.
“All the tension just went.”
A second x-ray assured medics that everything was back to normal and she was discharged and warned to “stifle yawns” and not to open her jaw too far for a fortnight.
Miss Peate has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which means she has hyper-flexible joints that are unstable and therefore prone to dislocation, so she has visited many hospitals over the years.
She added: “The Royal gave me the best dislocation treatment I’ve had. Everyone was really helpful and friendly. If it happens again, I would choose to go back.”
Miss Peate, who is getting married next year, said she is relieved it did not happen to near to her big day.
“I’ll stick to canape-sized burgers at my wedding!” she said.
“I will be more conscious of the size of food in future. If I had a big burger, I’d cut it up with a knife and fork.”
The clinical director of the Royal’s Emergency Department Kathryn Clark said: “Thankfully, incidents such as this are rare but our staff are very experienced in diagnosing and correcting dislocations.
“I’m glad Nicola had such a positive experience at the Royal and I hope that in future, she takes more care when eating over-sized burgers!
“If food is too large, we would recommend cutting it into more manageable chunks, particularly if you have Elhers-danlos syndrome.”
A spokesman for the restaurant invited Nicola to enjoy a burger on them - complete with an emergency kit including cutlery and painkillers should she need it.
She said: “While it’s something that people joke about quite often, this is definitely the first instance of jaw dislocation as a result of an Almost Famous burger we’ve ever heard of!
“We all had a massive cringe at the thought of someone’s jaw being popped back into place, but we’re all really glad Nicola is okay - kudos to her for giving it a go, though, that’s a pretty big amount of burger to be tackling when the chance of jaw dislocation is high.”