Trial and error in bunion splints, then success

by Madeleine

I am 68 years old and lucky to recover from many health challenges. Both my mother and grand mother suffered from bunions. As a french nurse, I used to hook my big toes together to help me go to sleep.

When the kids were raised I wanted to go travelling and my feet would not be up to the task. I was told that the pain would not necessarily go away after surgery. I wore custom orthotics and ditched my narrow shoes. By age 50 I was mostly in slacks and trainers for comfort.

In 1997/96, I found a single gadget in an op shop. I instinctively recognised it as a possible bunion splint. Made of brittle amber plastic, it broke after a few weeks and started me on a self help journey. In those days, the internet had not heard of bunions, let alone splints or bunion aids. I set about replicating that Chinese device. I used leather, metal, plastic tubes and experimented. I would wake with severe pain, but go to sleep easier. During travel, I would sometimes resort to taping my foot. This slightly relieved the pain, but I would develop a nasty rash.

At last the internet was now selling the Chinese splint. I wore it to go to sleep. It pushed my smaller toes to one side which I found creepy. There would always be pressure points here and there and I filed, and replicated it, to improve the profile to a more western foot.

I purchased the toe spacers, those plastic and groovy looking rings. Alas, my toes would not fit inside it. Walking was akin to a trip over an amber bed. Podiatrists proposed a silicon spacer. This was supposed to facilitate walking. Yuck, yuck, as despair set in. This felt foreign in my shoe and I gained nil benefit.

My podiatrist modified my orthotics by adding a median bridge. This was supposed to lift the offending areas off the walking base and relieve the pressure. I wore this for a few days. All along It seemed I would brake a leg, so out of balance did I feel.

It was time to invest in a serious splint. I stumbled on Hallufix. I learnt that this splint was developed by a team of podiatry surgeons in Germany, it had won awards and it was expensive. I paid upwards of $100.00 plus postage to Australia. I can't describe the joy of anticipation as I first put it on my foot. "freedom at last!"

I could not wear the thing in a shoe. It would not fit. If using in a shoe was improbable it would ease walking? Not at all. I could not flex my foot properly and felt trapped. The Morton Neuroma pain was still present. It moved during sleep. The whole time the "trapping" sensation was even more severe than any other device. Worse, it twisted during the night, and I had to fully wake to remove it. I also developed an unbearable itch.

I continued experimenting until one day, I noticed the Morton Neuroma pain was no longer present. I spoke about this to my family. They had seen me in crutches and believed me 100%. I showed them the device and convinced me to explore commercialisation.

I am very proud to say, this was three years ago. We conducted trials in Perth and when those proved successful, I set up shop. You can follow the story and see the Amitoe website.

My mission is to reach out to bunion sufferers and conduct clinical trials to clinically prove Amitoe's therapeutic value.


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