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A healthy, pretty foot.

Until 1949 when the millennium-long tradition was finally outlawed, most Chinese women had their feet broken and bound for life in order to adopt a desired pointed “lotus” shape. That practice sounds repugnant to modern women, thus it makes it even more surprising that a growing number of women are subjecting their feet to major surgical procedures for no other reason than to be able to walk in stilettos.

Major Foot Surgeries Solely For Cosmetic Reasons

Some of the surgeries include:

Toe shortening – A bone segment is removed
Toe lengthening – The bone is cut and lengthened with an implant
Toe straightening – Bone near the joint is removed to fix a curl
Toe slimming – The bone is shaved
Foot padding – Filler or fat is injected into the ball of the foot
Foot narrowing – The entire foot is reduced in width

Although some of these procedures are carried out to assist patients with deformed or injured feet, the recent boom in their popularity is strictly cosmetic: Women want their feet to look better in expensive shoes, or to be able to walk more comfortably on heels that can exceed four inches in height and place the foot at an extremely unnatural angle which is often greater than 45 degrees.

The Desire For Carrie Bradshaw Feet

The desire to have feet which could feature in Sex In The City protagonist Carrie Bradshaw’s ultimate Manolo Blahnik fantasy is driving thousands of women to undergo surgeries without considering the serious consequences. In a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, I warned that these women “want to look their best and they don’t understand the risks.

26 Bones & 30 Joints Designed To Hold Up Your Entire Body

Both the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, and the American Podiatric Medical Association which represents nearly 9 out of every 10 podiatrists in the United States, have adopted strong positions against these forms of cosmetic surgery. The human foot is a delicate assemblage of 26 major bones and 30 joints, and these organizations do not believe that women’s aspiration to look good on a Saturday evening balances out the risk of lifelong pain and permanent deformities which may require several corrective operations. Some women are rendered unable to walk properly at all from these ill-advised cosmetic surgeries.

Foot Surgeries Are Being Considered In The Breast Augmentation League

Enchanting women by the allure of operations which are hyped under fanciful names such as The Cinderella Procedure, aesthetic foot surgeries are flourishing in the moneyed canyons of Beverly Hills and many of the country’s elite enclaves such as Manhattan and Miami Beach. Lulled into a false sense of confidence by the apparent ease of breast augmentation surgeries, women fall into the trap of believing that their feet can have an equally easy makeover: while failing to consider that feet are designed to bear the weight of the entire body through a wide variety of strides, and are not to be modified to fit fashion.

Unlike breasts, you have to walk on your feet!

  • Emily

    Dr. Nirenberg:
    I respect your reaction against cosmetic surgery on the foot. However, I am interested in fillers in the bottom of the feet NOT to wear high heels, but as a possible treatment for my elderly mother. The fat on the balls of her feet is so thin now, she is in great pain walking or standing. She has visited several podiatrists and orthopedic specialists and they only recommended orthotic inserts and comfortable shoes. She never wore high heels.

    Fillers wear away over time, so if it did not work, it wouldn’t be a permanent mistake. Why can’t foot docs think of this as a solution for those who can hardly stand or walk due to this problem? I believe you hear the word “cosmetic” and “high heels” and perhaps can not see the possible medical advantages and improvement in quality of life. Thank you for listening.

  • Dr. Nirenberg

    Thanks for bringing up a great perspective. Her problem sounds like fat pad atrophy and I have injected these fillers for pain relief.

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