Would You Improve the Appearance of Your Feet with Surgery?

Foot surgery has come a long way. Primarily performed for pain relief and for improving foot function, in recent times cosmetic foot surgery has also been done to improve the appearance of the feet. More women are now resorting to cosmetic foot surgery. But the American Podiatric Foot and Ankle Society clearly warns against unwarranted foot surgery, especially procedures involving shortening of toes, narrowing of feet, injecting the foot pad with collagen and other procedures meant just to improve the appearance of the foot or to accommodate certain shoe types, and not for any pain relief or improvement in foot function.

Indications for Cosmetic Foot Surgery

The American Podiatric Foot and Ankle Society states that foot surgery should to be done only to relieve pain and to improve foot function. Some of the common foot conditions for which foot surgery is done includes:

· Bunion This is an extrusion ( the bone juts out) at the base of the great toe, giving an unsightly appearance to the foot. Sometimes the toe may get infected and inflamed, and this is very painful. A bunion is therefore a symptom of a hallux valgus (big toe) deformity. Surgery is indicated only when there is persistent pain in spite of conservative treatments like wearing a well fitting shoe and possibly orthotic devices.

· Brachymetarsia (see video) Brachymetatarsia is a condition in which one of the five metatarsals is abnormally short, resulting in a shortened toe. The metatarsals are the long bones of the foot. Brachymetatarsia can affect normal walking.

· Hammer toes This is a condition which affects the 2 nd , 3 rd and the 4 th toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer. Initially, [tag]hammer toes[/tag] are flexible and can be corrected with simple measures. If left untreated, the toe(s) can become fixed and require surgery. Surgery is indicated only when conservative treatment fails and pain persists.

· Claw toes The toes bend up at the joints where the toes and the foot meet. The toes bend down at both the middle joints and at the joints nearest the tip of the toes. This causes the toes to curl down toward the floor.

Pros of Cosmetic Surgery

The pros of cosmetic foot surgery include:

· Obtaining foot pain relief in cases that do not resolve with conservative treatment

· The function of the foot can be restored in cases where conservative measures have failed

Cons of Cosmetic Foot Surgery

The American Podiatric Foot and Ankle Society recommends not performing foot surgery for cosmetic purposes alone. In a survey, 82% of Podiatric surgeons are of the opinion that cosmetic surgery for the foot is inappropriate and 50% have said they have treated a lot of cases who developed complications after having cosmetic foot surgery.

Moreover, some of the conditions, like bunions, may recur even after the surgery if proper shoes are not worn after the surgery The Society feels that the risks outweigh the benefits. The risks include:

· Infection

· Nerve injuries

· Prolonged swelling of the toe

· Chronic pain while walking

· Pain in the foot affecting the knee, hip, back and jaw

The solution is to see a qualified Podiatrist. You will learn about your options, which may include:

· How to choose properly fitting shoes

· Where to get physical therapy for proper foot alignment and function

· Ultrasound guided steroid injections as needed

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