Bunion Myths

Myths are scientifically unproven beliefs that can become misinformation. There is now sufficient evidence and progress in the understanding and treatment of the bunion condition to dispel many bunion myths, but much contention may still be expected.

Myth #1:

Bunion deformity is often caused by wearing high-heel shoes.


Contrary to popular belief, most women (>85%) with bunion deformity never wore high-heels more than occasionally or higher than 2 inches. On the other hand, many women who wear high heels regularly do not have bunions may have normal and stronger ligaments. Studies have also failed to show that ballerinas would develop bunion easier than usual. Mainly ordinary western style flat shoes have been blamed for causing bunion deformity in past studies and high heel shoes have never been proven to increase the chance of bunion development among patients who would otherwise not develop it .

Myth #2:

Bunion is caused by deformed bones.


This is another misconception cannot be further from the truth. Bunion deformity is actually formed by normal bones having been displaced from their normal positions due to failure of their supporting ligaments. Hence, the fundamental culprit of bunion deformity lies in the incompetent ligaments, not the bones. The common break-n-shift surgeries of normal and innocent bones is not exactly logical in principle or ideal for functional and even cosmetic results.

Myth #3:

Most bunions cannot be corrected by non-bone-breaking techniques.


This was true in the past when no effective non-bone-breaking techniques were available. But the non-bone-breaking syndesmosis procedure has proven otherwise. It can do so only because of the fact that the displaced bones of bunion deformities are actually loose and can be easily realigned without force or breaking them.

Myth #4:

There can never be panacea for bunion surgery.


It is always true by its strict definition. The traditional bone-breaking approach has long been known to require different break-n-shift methods to correct different bunion severities but syndemosis procedure has been shown otherwise. With one single technique, it can correct not only mild bunions without breaking bones but also severe ones, and even salvaging failed break-n-shift surgeries. After all, with exactly the same underlying pathology for all bunions there is no reason why they cannot all be corrected by the same technique as long as it can indeed correct their common cause specifically and effectively.

Myth #5:

Footwear and activities should still be restricted after surgery.


Surgical results can only be as good as the surgeries themselves. The primary goal of bunion surgery is to help restore normality to the foot which means it can hopefully again be able to wear and do whatever a normal foot can without pain or deformity recurrence. If there has to be restrictions, it would only be due to the unperfected surgery itself.

Myth #6:

Clawed toes and metatarsalgia are separate entities from bunion, and thus cannot be resolved by simply correcting bunion alone.


Clawed toes, metatarsalgia and even bunionette pain are actually originated mostly if not entirely from the bunion (metatarsus primus varus) condition. Hence, if their problem source can be truly corrected, then these secondary conditions would also be resolved spontaneously without additional surgery. This logical phenomenon has been regularly observed after syndesmosis procedure.

Myth #7:

The success of bunion surgery is measured by the straightness of big toe.


In fact not all normal big toes are absolutely straight and they can tilt sideways up to 15° normally, but all have normal function for unrestricted activities and shoes. Indeed, the success of any bunion surgery should only be measured by its ability to restore painless normal function of big toes not itheir cosmetic straightness. After all, foot is more for function than for show. Unless normal function can be restored otherwise the straightness of big toe will be irrelevant and meaningless.

Myth #8:

Bunion surgery is painful and risky.


All surgeries have pain and risks. But the severity of pain and the likelihood of complications depend on what and how surgery is carried out. Non-bone-breaking syndesmosis procedure is based on minimal-traumatic surgical principles and can understandably be less painful and risky than the more invasive techniques of break-n-shift of normal bones.

Myth #9:

Bunion recurrence is common after surgery.


Recurrence can happen especially if the chosen surgical technique fails to address the underlying reasons for bunion deformity recurrence which is damaged ligaments unaddressed. The unique biological bonding bridge of syndesmosis procedure has been specifically developed to replace those incompetent ligaments and prevent deformity recurrence. And it has already been proven so clinically in long term studies.

Myth #10:

Dr. Wu’s non-bone-breaking bunion surgery is new and unproven.


The original surgical concept and technique of syndesmosis procedure was reported in Italy over half a century ago. Unfortunately, it has been undiscovered or ignored by most surgeons. Its concept makes common sense and logic. It has also been tried and reported so by several other surgeons since. At present, Dr. Wu may possibly be the only surgeon practicing this unique technique exclusively for more than 1,600 bunion feet with no real regrets. I am pleased to announce that before long syndesmosis procedure will also be available and tested by Dr. Dieter Fellner of NYC www.bunioncenternyc.com.