More than two years already I've been highly intrigued by a non-invasive bunion treatment, as practiced by Milly Ng. Milly is a physiotherapist originating from HongKong, but currently based in London. The treatment she uses is AIM: Active Integrated Microcurrent. This is a technique in which she runs one millionth of an ampere electrical current through parts of your feet and legs to correct hallux valgus and heal bunions.
As Milly had relocated to London in Autumn 2014, it became all of a sudden feasible to schedule a series of appointments with her, to see what this treatment could do to help heal my bunions and hallux valgus. So in December 2014 I scheduled ten sessions with her, for ten days in a row.
First of all, I think it's important to realize that this is not a passive treatment, in the way that the practitioner does all the work and the patient only has to undergo the treatment. No, you really have to work together with her on your feet. That means that you're supposed to do the main exercise she recommends at least twice a day for twenty minutes (but preferably much longer than that, especially during the ten days of treatment). Besides that, there may be other exercises she wants you to do, like stretching exercises for your calves and shins.
The point is that she tries to accomplish a couple of things through this treatment. The first is that she tries to loosen up muscles and ligaments that are far too tight. The second is that she wants to stimulate weakened or atrophied muscles, in order to get them to work again so they can keep your foot in a good shape. And the third is that she tries to get the toxins out of your body.
These three objectives imply that from you, as a patient, also some things are expected. You have to drink 2 litres plain water a day and refrain from drinking coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks, as well as alcohol. This is to help you flush the toxins out of your body.
It also means that you yourself have to practise the exercises she prescribes religiously, to strengthen the muscles that keep your foot in a good shape. This strengthening can be stimulated by the microcurrent, but it's you who has to help the muscles regain their strength by working them every day.
The main exercise for your feet – not only during treatment, but also after; possibly for the rest of your life – is to bring your big toes together in such a way that they touch each other. Then you close your heels, shifting them slowly and carefully, all the while keeping a tall, upright position (squeeze in your belly and bottom, and bring your knees together). Once in this position, you try to bring your big toes together (because they have probably been displaced a little bit by now).
This exercise makes the muscles op top of your feet and along the inner sides of your feet, along the arch, much stronger. You have to repeat this for at least twenty minutes, twice a day, but preferably much longer and more often, as often as you can.
Did the microcurrent treatment work for me?
Well, the treatment sure did a lot of good to my feet. My feet have become more flexible, and I can see what they could look like when everything is corrected.
But at the same time, my bunions have not disappeared, and the deviation of my big toes has not changed dramatically. To give you an idea of what happened to my feet during those ten days, here are a few pictures I've taken.
The left picture was taken only moments before I had my first microcurrent treatment, and the second was taken after five days of treatment, in the apartment where I lived during my stay in London. You'll notice that at the second picture my feet look red and swollen in some places. That's because this one is taken a couple of hours after treatment. Usually the next day the swelling and redness had subsided a bit – until the next treatment came along of course!
In the above picture (left) you can see what my feet could look like when the muscles in my feet are strong enough to keep everything in place. I can only get to this position by pressing both my feet together as described in the exercise above. The second photo was taken with my feet apart, while putting full pressure on both my feet. So this picture should be compared with the photo taken right before I started the treatment, to see how this treatment affected my feet.
As you can see, the form of my feet has decidedly changed. They look thicker, and seem to have more muscle tissue. These are the muscles I need to keep my feet in a more slender shape. But my big toes are still in a deviated position. I'm trying really hard to work the muscles necessary to bring those toes in correct alignment, but until now I guess they're just not strong enough.
Truth be told: the treatment itself can be very painful at times. But the good thing is that the pain only lasts as long as the microcurrent is applied. (And you can always tell Milly to stop for a moment if you really cannot bear it any longer.) However, keep in mind that the places where the treatment is most painful, are also the places that will most benefit from it. So I'd advise you to be brave :)
Finally, this treatment is not cheap. I paid 3500 GBP for the ten sessions. But so far, of all the things I've tried, I think this is the one that had the best results. And I learned a lot about how my feet worked and especially about what NOT to do when you suffer from bunions and hallux valgus. Now I 'only' have to apply all this knowledge and of course keep doing the exercises I learned as best and as much as I can.
Update Jan 2017
It has been just over two years that I've had this treatment, so time to give a little update. In the end, I don't think that the microcurrent treatment did a lot for my feet. However, it did make me more aware of all the muscles in my feet and I am now more or less able to 'move' my bunions a bit at will inwards and outwards, just by contracting and relaxing certain muscles. Truth be told, I didn't keep up with the exercise regime Milly Ng gave me. And maybe 10 consecutive sessions just wasn't enough to make a lasting difference for me. But I find the treatment too expensive to warrant another 10 sessions.
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My micro current bunion treatment
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My name is Anne Clark. I am 59 years old and live in Perth, Western Australia. I had been suffering with pain in my left foot on the ball of the foot …