Cosmetic Foot and Ankle Surgery Gaining in Popularity, Docs Report

Cosmetic Foot and Ankle Surgery Gaining in Popularity, Docs Report

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons report that cosmetic surgery to enhance the visual appearance of lower extremities or to alter the shape of the foot to fit into specialized footwear is growing in popularity.

However, they warn that these elective procedures come with serious risks and are not recommended for people with pain-free, functioning feet, a media release from The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) explains.

Commonly requested procedures include liposuction, toe straightening or shortening, fat-pad injections, and forefoot contouring. When performed for cosmetic reasons alone, these procedures unnecessarily put patients at risk for infection, nerve damage, chronic pain, and other complications.

“While reconstructive procedures address problems that cause pain and disability, cosmetic foot surgery deals with perception of style and beauty,” says J. Chris Coetzee, MD, foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon with Twin Cities Orthopedics in Minneapolis-St. Paul, in the release.

“One should always bear in mind that once the procedure is done, it is irreversible.”

Patients may also seek cosmetic foot surgery for hammertoes and bunions. A hammertoe is a deformity that adds an abnormal bend in the middle joint of the second, third, or fourth toe causing it to resemble a hammer. A bunion occurs when the joint of your big toe swells and sticks out, which could be caused by wearing tight, narrow shoes or high heels.

While corrective surgery is available for both conditions, foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons advise against them unless the patient is experiencing pain or other symptoms, the release continues.

Jonathan T. Deland, MD, a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon and Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, explains in the release that patients often request surgery for asymptomatic bunions because they do not like how their feet look. The surgery involves cutting into the foot and shaving down the bone.

“I do not recommend shaving down painless bumps anywhere on the foot or ankle,” Deland states. “The procedure potentially exposes the patient to risks for insufficient reasons.”

[Source(s): The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, GlobeNewswire]