Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bunions, Almost 2 Years Since The Syndesmosis Procedure For The Treatment Of Hallux Vulgas

Gosh, hard to believe it's almost 2 years since my journey to Hong Kong, my meeting with Dr Wu and my operation.
My feet, pre op. After a beach walk. You can see my big toe crossing over my other toes. Gosh looking at that brings back memories of the pain. Which I don't have now!
I haven't felt much like writing as I have had a few personal issues and thought that I would perhaps be sharing my 'mood' with the 'universe' and you, my reader, via some sort of transference. Any way. About bunions or Hallux Vulgas.

Unfortunately Dr Wu has also had some issues of his own, but it appears that 'science' is proving his greatest allie.

Please remember that I am a 'self funded critic'. I don't normally assume the role of critic, as I feel that there are enough negatives in this critical world. I prefer 'credit where credit is due'! Any thing positive I have to say is unpaid for and not without due thought to responsibility.

I came to know Dr Wu through recommendations. It's a story I have written about earlier. The research I had done previous to the operation was not making sense to me. So hence I took the plunge to invest in the Syndesmosis Procedure.
My feet, Xray, pre op.
It is a hard concept to get the mind (or my mind at least) around. This is my version of an explanation. If you look at the xrays of my feet... pre op, you might see what looks like growths or knobs (I know this explanation is crude in form, but I am not writing this for the professionals, Im writing this for people who actually are experiencing pain in their feet), any way.... the growths appear to be under the head of the first metatarsal bone. That is not a growth but the underside of the 'head'. That whole metatarsal has 'rolled over'! (You wont see those knobs in the xrays taken after the op, they are still there just where they should be, underneath) The ligaments that hold all the metatarsals together have 'given way'; softened; stretched, what ever... they are no longer holding the feet together. The pain comes from a few bones carrying the entire weight of the body!

So, with my procedure, apparently, the bone is 'filed' (like with a rasp/raspatory) to create trauma, which then creates new ligament, the metatarsals are realigned, holes are drilled and then the two major metatarsals are stitched together with dissolving stitches. It's all sewn up, casts put on and 'Bob's your Uncle'! I say that flippantly because it isn't that simple. But that is my version. I can see a chastising coming from Dr Wu!
My feet, Xray post op, you can see the little drill holes in the metatarsals.
Unfortunately for this procedure there is the human nature factor. I am going to be blunt, but we humans are intrinsically lazy creatures (alright maybe some, well maybe me). Combine this laziness with no pain from the operation (or very little pain), equals no reason to maintain the necessary exercises, that are given to us, to make this procedure successful. The exercises aren't hard, they just don't 'seem' necessary, until, inevitably someone has lost movement in their 'big toe' or something like that (I dont understand why that happens)! Hence Dr Wu's lurking issue. The human factor. For all the nagging that he can do, he can't go into your home and make you do your exercises. Now, I am not entirely sure that this is the case, but it is as I see it. I would love some feedback if anyone has had an experience with this or knows about it.
In hospital after the Op, hardly any pain. I am a 'Princess' and complained of course. So did need a painkiller, but nothing like I thought I would need. My exercises started at this point!
Dr Wu has been under scrutiny for this procedure. It would be an awful shame for him to discontinue, to be, what I believe, to be a life changing surgery. It has altered the course of my life.
After almost 2 years, I now feel confident enough to share with you that fact. I feel that the feet are going to hold together under my weight and allow me to continue my love of walking. I didn't want to come out prematurely, as I realise that my words could be influential. I will be the first to let you know if it is not all working as I had hoped.
In the taxi leaving Hong Kong under my own steam. My old shoes managed to fit over my casts! The staff at the airport and on Cathay were fabulous. Even the taxi drivers were amazing.
Dr Wu's office has just broadcast some scientific research into his procedure. I have read it, most of it is medical 'gobbly gook' to me. It might be useful for those other practitioners that are exploring this procedure. A link is attached here:

Cheers for now, off for a walk :) Apparently a huge surf here today in Margaret River.


  1. Hi, I have followed your blog about your bunion surgery, and wondered how your feet are doing in 2015? Any sign of the bunions returning, or toes shifting back out of alignment? Do you have any lasting pain from it? Are you able to wear any kind of comfortable dress shoe with a heel? My bunion is worse then yours. My big toe is leaning way over to the second toe, With a very large bump. Almost no shoe fits me now because of it. My second toe is crossing over my big toe, and my third toe is shifting in the second toes place. I now have insurance,( Obama care) . And it would pay for the surgery, but what the Podiatrist surgeon wants to do to my foot scares me. It's like they literally want to butcher it. I fear I will be disabled when they get done with it. I have googled what they want to do and found mostly dismal results, with people warning not to have it done. I am an active person and fear it would keep me from doing the things I like to do. I would rather get a loan for the surgery, since my insurance wont cover out of the country surgery, that I could pay off in three years then go the rest of my life with disabled painful feet.
    Anyway, I just wondered how your feet were doing. Thanks, cheryl

    1. Hi Cheryl, I am going to post a '4 years on' piece. And was reserving my comments till then. Feel free to contact me directly. My contact details are on the contact page or email at Regards Cath



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