Surgeons Issue Warning on Dangers of Cosmetic Foot Surgery

“Foot facelifts” are a growing trend around the globe, a procedure that can help to narrow the feet so that they fit better in heels or smaller shoes. However, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society has issued a warning about these procedures, indicating that this type of surgery can cause extensive nerve damage and pain, and may lead to other problems.

Dr. Michael Pinzur, a surgeon at the Loyola University Health System, reports that “the risk of surgeries – including infections, pain, scarring and nerve damage – are much greater than the benefits…I hope patients will follow the Foot and Ankle Society’s recommendation that surgery never be performed just to improve the appearance of the foot.”

Cosmetic foot surgery involves shortening the second toe so that it is not longer than the big toe. This makes it easier for the foot to accommodate high heels, and can reduce pain and discomfort when wearing heels for an extensive period of time. However, the procedure can cause a significant amount of pain and nerve damage in itself, and poses many risks. Complications of foot surgery include infection, corns, and chronic pain when walking. In some cases, the bones and tendons can become inflamed or may even shift, requiring more cosmetic surgery.

The procedure is also known as restorative foot surgery, because it is designed primarily to enhance the physical appearance of the foot. Some procedures involve removing fat from the heels and around the sides of the foot, so that the foot looks better in high heels. Other procedures involve the injection of fat into the balls of the feet so that the individual has a more shapelier foot and feels more comfortable in heels. Some surgeons also perform bone restructuring procedures, or administer procedures that narrow the base or tip of the feet.

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