Myths are scientifically unproven beliefs that can become misinformation. There is now sufficient evidence and progress in the understanding and treatment of the condition to dispel these myths, however, contention can still be expected.
Contrary to popular belief, most women with the deformity never wore high-heels more than occasionally, or with a heel higher than 2 inches. At the same time, there are women who wear high heels regularly who do not have the condition. Studies have failed to show that ballerinas, whose feet withstand the greatest known physical stresses, are not any more or less likely to develop the condition. There is no evidence the primarily cause is by high heels or high-impact activity.
This misconception cannot be further from the truth. The hallux valgus deformity is formed by normal bones having been displaced from their normal positions due to failure of their supporting ligaments. Hence, the fundamental culprit lies in the incompetent ligaments, not the bones or joints. The common bone-breaking and joint-fusing surgeries can, in principle, be counterproductive.
The primary goal of corrective surgery is to help restore normality, which means the patient should be able to wear any shoe and return to even the most demanding activity, without pain or recurrence. After all, a functional outcome can only be as good as the surgical principle and methodology itself.
Clawed toes, metatarsalgia and bunionette pain are mostly, if not entirely, caused by the bunion condition. Thus, if the primary cause for these secondary conditions can be curbed, then they should resolve themselves spontaneously, without additional surgery. This logical phenomenon has been repeatedly observed after Syndesmosis Surgery. Our patients have also reported improvement in low back pain, knee pain and balance.
A big toe can normally tilt outward anywhere up to 15° while still retaining normal function. Unless normal function can be restored, straightness of the big toe is irrelevant and meaningless. The success of any corrective surgery should be primarily measured by its ability to restore the normal and painless function of the big toes.
All surgeries have pain and risks, but the severity of pain and the likelihood of complications depend on the nature of the surgery. Syndesmosis Surgery is based on minimally traumatic surgical principles, making it much less painful and risky than more invasive techniques that break bones or fuse joints. The fact that no bone is cut means Syndesmosis Surgery is also less traumatic than the so-called minimally-invasive, bone-cutting procedures.
Recurrence can happen only if surgery fails to address the underlying reasons for the deformity. The unique biological connecting bridge of the Syndesmosis Surgery has been specifically developed to replace incompetent ligaments and prevent deformity recurrence. This has already been clinically proven in a 10-year prospective study.
The original surgical concept and technique of Syndesmosis Surgery was reported in Italy over half a century ago. Unfortunately, it has been undiscovered or ignored by surgeons. When viewing the big picture, the surgical principles make the most sense. At present, Dr. Wu has 35 years of experience with Syndesmosis Surgery, unequivocally proving its success with over 2,500 feet. Surgeons from around the world are traveling to Hong Kong to learn the craft:
Dr. Doug Ichikawa at Bellevue Podiatric Physicians, WA, USA
Dr. Kangjun Yoon, St. Peter’s Hospital, Seoul, South Korea