This week there have been reports of a new growing trend in cosmetic surgery. People are seeking out foot surgery for what they feel are fat toes. Apparently people are so self concious about it, and feel so ridiculed, that they refuse to wear sandals because of it. ABC News reported on a New York podiatrist who is advocating cosmetic surgery to reduce fat toes.
This is not the first time cosmetic foot surgery has been in the news. Toe shortening surgery was all abuzz in the past, and we still get calls in our Houston podiatry office about it. Truthfully, most cases of toe shortening is because of a hammertoe. Similarly, surgery to narrow the foot is often due to a bunion on the foot, which is a painful bump on the side of the great toe joint. Both of these conditions, when painful, are suitable reasons for foot surgery.
What about "toe-besity?" Is it due to a structural issue, is there pain involved, or is it simply a cosmetic concern? Each case will be different. It is possible that a bone spur can form in the toe, causing the toe to appear fatter and even be painful from pressure in a shoe. This is a good reason to have surgery to "thin" the toe, which is actually removing the bone spur, reducing the pressure, and eliminating the pain.
Then again, some people are just overly-critical about their appearence and don't like that thick big toe. There may be nothing wrong, but they don't like the way it looks. In that case, it's up to the expertise (and integrity) of your podiatrist to help you decide what is best for you.
My philosophy is that there should be no cosmetic surgery of the feet. Not to say that eliminated a painful bunion, hammertoe, or bone spur doesn't have a cosmetic element, but the importance of the procedure is to alleviate the painful deformity. You need your feet to walk and should not risk ongoing pain from an unneccesary procedure.
If you think you may have a foot problem that would benefit from surgery, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. We will discuss your options to see which is the best solution for you.