What are the benefits of corrective foot surgery?
We’re used to the concept of cosmetic surgery on our face and body. But have you ever considered surgery on your feet? Find out how corrective foot surgery can help.
Corrective cosmetic foot surgery usually involves improving the appearance and function of your feet using surgery. Many people opt for it for foot deformities, for example bunions and long toes that have become hammered.
But foot surgery isn’t just cosmetic; it can also help to reduce pain and significantly improve patients’ lifestyles, mobility and mental health.
Why don’t we hear about corrective cosmetic foot surgery?
Let’s face it, our feet aren’t the most attractive parts of our bodies. Nor are they often what we first notice about someone, especially in colder weather when they’re tucked away, out of sight in shoes and boots.
So it’s unlikely that corrective foot surgery is going to be an obvious topic of conversation when you meet someone, and nor are you necessarily likely to notice they’ve had it.
If someone has a nose job, face lift or breast augmentation, the results will be much more visible and likely lead to questions about why they had the treatment and what it was like. But foot surgery is much less noticeable, so it’s no surprise if you haven’t heard of it, or don’t know anyone who has undergone it.
Why foot surgery is more than just ‘cosmetic’
In some ways the term ‘cosmetic foot surgery’ is a misnomer. Because yes, while patients do often want more attractive feet, the motivation for many when opting for corrective foot surgery is the relief of pain, and improved lifestyle.
We rely on our feet for so much; they enable us to balance and move around. And when they are functioning properly it is easy to take them for granted. But imagine if every step you took was difficult or caused you pain. Or if wearing some footwear (or even any footwear) was uncomfortable?
And consider how unpleasant the hot summer months would be if you were ashamed of how your feet looked, and unable to wear open toed shoes and sandals, or go barefoot as a result.
Cosmetic cosmetic foot surgery can have a significant impact on the quality of life and mental health of people who opt for it.
What can foot surgery help with?
Left untreated, problems with your feet can have an impact on your entire body. If you adjust your walk or posture because of pain, over time you can experience problems in your feet, knees and back.
For example, if you have fallen arches there is nothing to absorb the shock from every step you take. And eventually, if left untreated, the stress will impact your joints, such as knees and hips.
As a result, patients who opt for foot surgery can sometimes experience significant pain relief.
It may also surprise you to know that your feet can also influence the health of your organs, too. Your feet contain millions of nerves that send continual messages up to your brain. And if these nerves aren’t working properly, your brain will send information to make adjustments within your body, including your organs.
What kind of cosmetic cosmetic foot surgery treatments do people choose?
So when we talk about cosmetic cosmetic foot surgery, what kind of treatments are we referring to? Here are three of the most popular surgeries performed on patients.
1) Bunion surgery
The medical name for a bunion is hallux valgus deformity. A bunion is where your big toe sticks out towards the outer side of your foot, leaving a bump on the inner side of your big toe joint. Many people don’t realise that bunions are actually genetic.
Over time, bunions can become more and more of a problem, causing pain and reducing your footwear options. In surgery, your metatarsal is realigned, your toe straightened and your foot narrowed.
2) Toe shortening
Another common genetic foot problem is a long toe – usually the second toe. This can cause pain in your toenail and top of your toe where your toe hits and rubs against the top of your shoe. Some people with long toes can also suffer from hammertoe, where your middle toes bend up and can result in painful corns or calluses.
Toe shortening surgery can help to alleviate pain, improve your balance, enhance the fit of your shoes and improve the look of your feet. (This can be especially beneficial for women who are self-conscious about the appearance of their feet.)
3) Bone spur surgery
If you have a bone spur, you’ll notice a bump or corner of bone that causes you pain. Bone spurs usually develop along the edges of your bones, where they meet your joints. Containing over 30 joints, it’s perhaps not surprising that our feet are a common place for bone spurs to form.
Bone spurs are usually located on the bottom of your heel, top of your foot, on the outside or inside of your foot, or on your toes. The pain experienced from a bone spur can be dull or sharp, depending on the nerves being pressed between your bone spur and shoes.
Bone spurs on your heels can sometimes be caused by plantar fasciitis. A surgical procedure called plantar fascia release can relieve the pain by cutting a part of your planter fascia ligament to reduce tension and inflammation. Your surgeon may even decide to completely remove your heel spur.
You can be treated in a day
Unlike some surgeries, cosmetic foot surgery is often performed as a day procedure under either general or local anesthetic (this is usually down to patent choice). This means you can have the surgery and come home that day with minimum upheaval. And if you can work from home, then you don’t need to take significant time off work.
Is corrective cosmetic foot surgery right for you?
If you aren’t happy with your feet – either aesthetically or functionally, or are in pain from feet-related issues, you can seek help. There are treatments that can be performed, usually in a day, that can relieve your pain and improve your mental health and the quality of your life.
So please don’t live with pain or reduced mobility or movement. You deserve to have feet that enable you to live the life you want.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez