Podiatrists warn against cosmetic foot surgery


In the olden days, it wasn't uncommon for a woman to endure painful foot binding or pinching corsets in order to appear fashionable. While we're not exactly cracking bones left and right to fit into today's hottest trends, many women are still going under the knife so they can more easily wear pointy-toed stilettos and the like.

I've talked about the Cinderella Procedure in previous posts, detailing the set of operations that can include bunion surgery, toe shortening, toe lengthening, foot narrowing and injections to pad the ball of the foot. 

Bunion surgery: A risky operation

The procedure has been touted by some as a way to obtain aesthetically pleasing tootsies, but physicians warn that all surgeries come with risk, and the foot is a rather important part of the body to be tampering with. As such, elective operations on the foot may not be a great idea.

"Our function is to relieve pain and correct deformities. We are not trained to allow women to fit into a narrower shoe," said Kathleen Stone, president of the American Podiatric Medical Association, quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Complications that may arise following bunion surgery include infection, bunion recurrence, nerve damage, continued pain and over-correction, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

These side effects occur in about one in 10 bunion surgery patients. New York dermatologist Debra Jailman was one of the unlucky ones. She told the Wall Street Journal about her experience.

"I should never have had foot surgery," said Jailman. "Now my foot hurts all the time. I can't wear high heels ever. I can't play tennis. It's really impacted my life. It limits me tremendously."

How much are open-toed shoes worth?

CBS News also reported on the topic, talking to one woman who was getting her hammer toe shortened so she could don open-toed heels. However, the news source also concluded that elective foot surgery may not be a sound idea.

"The complications can be devastating. Some women have had to go through five or six surgeries just to get back to walking on their foot, much less getting into their shoes," said Stuart Miller, D.P.M, quoted by the news source.

Ladies who are thinking about undergoing the costly, risky operation may want to consider all of their options. For instance, using bunion splints and orthotics regularly has been shown to help women reduce the appearance of bony foot deformities – sans scalpel.