We read a story recently about how some women are now turning to foot surgery to make wearing high heels more comfortable.

As foot care professionals, we don't generally encourage wearing high heels at all because of the damage they can do to the feet. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 87 percent of women have had foot problems from wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes, such as high heels. However, we also understand that many of our patients like to dress up occasionally, and if only worn once in a while, heels are generally safe enough. That being said, we don't know if surgery is really the best idea for women who want to wear heels comfortably.

One woman we read about, Susan Deming, underwent a toe-shortening procedure. She loved wearing heels and sandals, but it was starting to become painful for her to wear them. The procedure she had done actually cut off about a centimeter of her second toe.

"I was having calluses, and just, all sorts of problems with my left foot. And there finally was a solution. There's never been a solution before," said Deming.

Deming's surgery seems tame compared to other women: some actually request to have their entire pinky toe taken off to make their feet narrower.

People do have the right to choose, but many medical professionals do not support this type of surgery. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons has declared, "Surgery performed solely for the purpose of improving the appearance or size of the foot or ankle carries risk without medical benefits, and therefore should not be undertaken."

Surgery to maim an otherwise healthy foot for dubious cosmetic and esthetic reasons is not a great idea. At Fixing Feet Institute, our Arizona foot surgery podiatrists believe that surgery should be reserved as a last resort for otherwise intractable foot ailments and deformities. If you believe you may need surgery—or a professional evaluation of your foot and ankle health—contact our office by calling 623-584-5556 or by sending e-mail to [email protected].

Dr. Peyman A. Elison
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Founder and Managing Partner of Fixing Feet Institute
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