Cosmetic foot surgery can improve the look of your feet and help you fit into more flattering shoes. Some of the most common cosmetic foot surgeries include bunion repair, hammertoe correction, and toe shortening.
Some people choose cosmetic foot surgery to correct structural problems that cause pain and discomfort. However, weighing the risk versus the benefit before getting any surgical procedure is crucial.
Bunions (hallux valgus) are a foot condition that causes a bump inside your big toe. This painful deformity results from instability in the midfoot joint, forcing your big toe out of alignment. It changes the way your foot bears weight and creates friction with footwear.
The best treatment is to wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes that give your feet plenty of room. Some splints and orthotics can also reposition your big toe and reduce pain and swelling.
But surgery isn’t recommended unless your bunion impacts your ability to walk normally and function effectively. There are many different surgical procedures for bunions, but most involve removing the bump, realigning the bones, and adjusting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Depending on the severity of your bunions and other variables, your doctor will advise a corrective cosmetic foot surgery. X-rays will be taken of your foot to determine the best type of surgery for you.
Hammertoes (claw toes) are a reasonably common condition involving bending your toe’s middle joints. It causes the end of your toe to become angled downward and can cause pain in your toes and a change in your gait. The condition most often affects the second toe but can also be found in the third and fourth toes.
The condition occurs when your muscles and ligaments get out of balance, causing the middle toe joint to buckle. This pressure stresses the tendons and joints of your toe, leading to the condition that gets its name due to its resemblance to a claw.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with the pain associated with hammertoes, and your doctor may recommend stretching exercises or taping your toe to try to keep it flexible. However, surgery might be necessary if you develop severe pain or can’t bend your toe. In this procedure, called arthrodesis or joint fusion, your doctor removes any excess bone and then uses a metal pin to hold the bones of your toe in place while they fuse.
Almost like fingers in your hand, each of the four smaller toes have joints between them (interphalangeal joints). These are surrounded by muscles and tendons that control the position and movement of the toes. If these muscles become tight or weakened due to shoe pressure or other factors, the toes will bend into an odd shape causing claw, hammer, or mallet toe.
Eventually, this abnormal bending can cause pain. The toe is locked upward and can no longer be straightened by an outside force.
Early treatment for mallet toes focuses on preventing or reducing pain. It includes avoiding shoes that pinch or crowd your toes, using a cushioned pad to protect the area from irritation, stretching, and excising the feet and toes regularly. Surgery may be needed to correct the problem if treatments are unsuccessful. It can include arthroplasty to remove the damaged toe bone or tendon transfer to move a stiff toe joint into a more relaxed position.
Calluses are areas of thickened skin that form on the bottom of your foot and the top of your toes. These areas develop as a result of friction or pressure. They are typically painful and may inhibit your ability to wear certain shoes or engage in activities due to discomfort or pain.
Most people are at risk for developing calluses and corns if they wear shoes that fit poorly, particularly shoes with a tight or narrow toe box. These shoes can rub the bottoms of your feet, especially around the little toes or on the side of the big toe.
In some cases, regular debridement, enucleation, or keratolytic treatment does not significantly relieve these lesions. Surgery may be necessary to correct the abnormal mechanical stresses contributing to their formation. Most of these procedures can be performed in the office and require little to no downtime. However, it is vital to consider the risks of surgery against the potential benefits for you and your quality of life.