Monday, July 20, 2009

Feet: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When is Foot Surgery Simply Cosmetic and When is it Medically Necessary

Women – feet – shoes- they are a natural triad, a trinity to some and a piece of modern day life.

Women – feet – shoes- a passion many women have. I hesitate to say most; but certainly many women are fixated on their feet almost as much as their shoes. Most of my female patients evaluate and critique their feet as they would any other body part. Many women feel embarrassed to show their feet and I can’t tell you how many women have told me that they feel as if they are going to the gynecologist when they have to take off their shoes!

Many foot problems are unsightly. Hammertoes produce crooked toes. Bunions and other deformities cause disfigurement. Masses of fat tissue generate bulging of the ankles. Problems with the arch tendon can produce flat feet. Fungus cause thick toe nails.

Many unsightly foot issues become medical problems. Long toes can result in jamming in shoes and eventually produce hammertoes, pain at the ball of the foot and even tearing of ligaments. Deformities such as bunions and hammertoes can cause arthritis. Fat deposits become symptomatic with irritation of the nerves. Flat arches can instill pain, fatigue and tearing of the arch tendon. Thick nails can cause infection.

While most foot problems are hereditary, shoes certainly have a role in the affect they have on our daily lives. This is especially true for women. Women love shoes - although I can’t say that shoes love women! Many shoes inhibit the natural motion of the feet and can contribute to the development of deformities and other foot problems. Nonetheless, women love their shoes and most women will simply not give up the style, look and elegance that their carefully selected shoes provide!

Health feet, desired shoe wear and daily life styles represent a trinity to the sole of many women! Podiatric physicians that are sensitive to these three aspects of life can assist women in making the right choices to satisfy the heart, body and sole!

Treating foot problems is a challenge for many primary doctors, but podiatric physicians are trained in the biomechanics or function of the foot. The weight we bear and steps we take everyday directly influence the conditions, abnormalities and appearance of our feet. And because we walk on our feet, many foot problems are progressive. Usually, conservative treatment is enough to balance these factors and render our steps pain free, but often surgery is needed to correct a problem and/or prevent future problems.

Foot surgery, when performed by a qualified podiatric surgeon, is safe and usually uncomplicated. Foot surgery, of course, carries the same risks that other elective surgeries have, but most surgeries involving the foot get you back on your feet within weeks if not days. Foot surgery is performed for all different problems including those that cause unsightly conditions.

Despite their shoe wear, women are entitled to feet that are healthy, feel good and look great! It is the job of the treating podiatrist to determine which treatments will be most successful. Treatments may involve surgery and it is important to understand the risks. Surgery has a role in the management of foot problems associated with foot structure, shoes and daily life style. Foot health is intimately tied to foot structure and when it comes to the feet, it is often difficult to separate the truly cosmetic procedures from those that are medically necessary.


  1. Find all your foot condition solution through Physicians and Podiatrists at Beverly Hills provide information about common causes of foot and ankle pain.

  2. I am a 16 year old who plans on designing shoes that are in style but also comfortable. I have a question to ask you though...are most foot problems really from the family or from the shoes people wear?
    Thanks you

  3. Can surgeons get the exact shape and size of toe you want?and will your toes heal straight and how you want them.also how long till hyou can walk?

  4. Yes, you are right "it is often difficult to separate the truly cosmetic and medically necessary procedures".