'Stiletto surgery' may help you squeeze into your pumps - AmericaNowNews.com

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'Stiletto surgery' may help you squeeze into your pumps

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Nearly nine out of 10 women suffer from foot pain and blisters due to uncomfortable or poorly-fitted shoes, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Podiatrists say high heels are the biggest culprit, which are typically four to six inches in height.

While cases of high-heel related injuries are on the rise, instead of trading them in for flats, some women are reshaping their feet by shortening toes or simply removing them to get a Cinderella-snug fit inside their favorite shoes.

"At this point, I'm desperate and would try anything," says Claire Hosman, who is considering cosmetic foot surgery.

Casually called 'stiletto surgery' or cosmetic foot surgery, the procedure involves removing a cylinder of bone from the toe, slimming down it's length, or injecting fillers into the foot to add padding. In some cases, the pinky toe is removed to add extra wiggle-room inside a shoe that's notoriously painful to walk in.

"By the time I come home, it's practically agony," says Hosman. "I can't even drive in them!"

For women like her, getting a lower, more supportive shoe is not an option.

"I know they're not comfortable, they hurt when I try them on, but they look good," Hosman says.

The American Podiatric Medical Association and many of their physicians warn that foot surgery should only be performed for medical reasons -- to restore function or reconstruct a deformity.

Heel wearers counter by saying this surgery makes the shoes they already have more comfortable and is actually preventative care against future foot pain and problems.

"The toes are being squished together and it's irritating, particularly the pinky toe," says Dr. Kevin Molan, a podiatrist and owner of Carmel Foot Specialists located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Molan does not provide this type of cosmetic foot surgery to his patients. In fact, he says no shoe is worth all the risks associated with this procedure.

Each foot has 26 bones, more than 30 joints, and a complicated network of nerves and tendons.

Molan says any of these parts could be damaged during surgery or become infected, requiring additional bone removal to contain.

If a toe is shortened too much, the bones may not fuse.

"You don't want to have a floppy toe, a toe that has no integrity, it just wiggles around," Molan says.

Typically, insurance only covers corrective foot surgery and not cosmetic procedures. Expect to pay $500 to $1,500 per toe depending on the procedure.

A cheaper alternative, Molan suggests, is to wear heels strategically or only when necessary.

"When you're going power-shopping or on your feet a lot, maybe a flatter shoe with a wider toe box is better suited," Molan advises.

This isn't an option for women who don't like walking in anything except sky-high stilettos.

"Until you walk a mile in someone's shoes, you don't get it," Hosman says. 

There are some women who will opt for tinier toes, or for only eight of them before they'll ever trade in their favorite shoes.

For anyone considering medical or cosmetic foot surgery, the American Podiatric Medical Association strongly urges you to consult a member of their organization first.

Make sure your podiatrist has the right training, experience and credentials to perform the surgery, manage post-op care, and treat any potential complications.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Additional Information:

Dr. Kevin Molan is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) and the owner of Carmel Foot Specialists (http://www.carmelfoot.com/) in Charlotte, NC. He says high heels can cause hammertoe, a condition where the toes permanently curl up, which makes wearing the heels even harder.

The following information is from an ABC News report about the increase in cosmetic toe surgeries (Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cosmetic-toe-surgery-rise/story?id=16750698#.ULegmoafWSo --http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cosmetic-toe-surgery-rise/story?id=16750698).

  • The American Podiatric Medical Association says that foot surgery is typically performed for medical reasons: relief of pain, restoration of function, reconstruction of deformities.

The following information is from an article about cosmetic toe surgery published in the Wall Street Journal (Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703700904575391033879156718.html)

  • Some physicians argue surgery should only be done to relieve pain and deformities, while other doctors argue that making women more comfortable in their shoes prevents pain and deformities.
  • Toe shortening costs between $500 and $1500 per toe and is considered cosmetic, usually not covered by insurance. Insurance covers the procedure, typically in cases of hammertoe where the toe buckles up at the joint.
  • Slimming the pinky toe costs about 1,800 and is typically not covered by insurance.
  • Feet are especially delicate with 26 major bones, 30 joints and a complex web of nerves and tendons.
  • With surgery, bones may not fuse, nerves can be damaged and scar tissue can form.

The following information is from FoxNews.com (Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/11/20/tiletto-surgery-removes-pinky-toe-for-better-fit/).

  • Shortening toes, foot injections and removing the pinky toe are the surgical procedures used to make wearing heels more comfortable.
  • According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 87% of women have had foot problems from wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, like high heels.

The following is from the American Podiatric Medical Association about cosmetic procedures (Source: http://www.apma.org/Media/position.cfm?ItemNumber=996).

  • Surgical procedures of the foot and ankle are generally performed for relief of pain, restoration of function, and reconstruction of deformities.
  • They may have the additional benefit of improved appearance. Surgical procedures performed for aesthetic purposes carry the same risks as those performed for medical reasons.
  • Patients considering surgery of the foot or ankle, whether for medical or aesthetic reasons, are advised to consult a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
    Podiatrists performing surgery for medical or aesthetic reasons should have appropriate training, experience, and credentials to properly perform the surgery, manage the post-operative care, and treat the possible complications.
  • Podiatrists are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat the foot, ankle, and related structures based upon their education, training, and experience.

The following is from an article about changing trends in high heels from ABC News (Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/high-heeled-shoes-reach-heights/story?id=13563976#.ULjEQIafWSo).

  • The average heel height today is six inches, more than double what it was the 1970s.
  • Podiatrists say they're seeing an up tick in high heel-related broken ankles, bunions and shortened Achilles tendons.

 

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