The feet are perhaps the busiest parts of the body. They may look small, but almost a quarter of human bones are located here. And despite its size, each foot houses 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, and 107 ligaments.
Because of its complex anatomy and tireless activities, the human foot can sometimes suffer from painful and unsightly conditions such as corns and calluses, bunions, and hammertoes. As these can cause severe discomfort, a cosmetic foot surgery may be needed in certain cases.
Read on to learn more about which conditions can benefit from cosmetic foot surgery and discover how this method can help your feet look and feel great.
What Can Cosmetic Surgery Do?
Upon hearing the words, ‘cosmetic foot surgery,’ most people think exclusively about aesthetic procedures to make their feet look better. Men and women may assume that it’s a surgical solution for ugly-looking or wide feet.
However, cosmetic foot surgery is a viable option for persons who suffer from severe pain, deformities, and other related foot problems. For instance, some procedures meant to remove the source of discomfort can result in more visually pleasing feet. This means cosmetic foot surgeries do more than just enhance the appearance of your feet. They can also make them more functional.
Also known as its medical name hallux valgus, a bunion is a bony growth or protrusion on the big toe. Bunion repair is one of the more popular foot surgeries out there. The condition occurs when the big toe is misaligned with the rest of the foot. Apart from being unsightly, a bunion can cause severe pain and discomfort in many cases.
Women are more commonly affected by this condition, which makes wearing shoes, especially high-heeled ones, and walking extremely painful. In some situations, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain medications can ease the discomfort. However, bunions can worsen over time and may lead to other more serious problems.
The most common type of cosmetic foot surgery, bunionectomy, involves making a small cut on the big toe joint and the removal of the excess bone growth. With this, your big toe will feel less painful and look less crooked. As your toe shrinks, it’ll naturally align with the rest of your toes.
Corns and calluses are quite common, especially in the elderly population. Corns, which look like enlarged warts, can grow and multiply on any part of your feet. They typically form on the soles and develop with constant abrasion, friction, and pressure. They can be painful when pressed. Calluses, on the other hand, form in the same way as corns. But while corns form exclusively on the foot; calluses can develop anywhere on the body.
Corn removal is simply called a skin plasty, which involves the elimination of corns and the bursa or fluid that’s formed underneath. Another procedure called small joint fusion or an arthroplasty is recommended to prevent the recurrence of corns. This method aims to remove the extra bone from the knuckle to prevent skin pressure.
With this common condition, the joints of the toes become bent and won’t straighten. This is caused by problems with the tendons and muscles located in the foot. When left unaddressed, those tendons and muscles can make the toes pull up, leading to a claw-like position.
In the early stage, the irritation and discomfort caused by hammertoe can be relieved by taking oral medication or using orthotic devices. However, like other common foot problems, it’ll get worse over time and may need medical intervention. Apart from a deformed toe, this condition can lead to loss of sensation.
The treatment for this involves cutting or moving tendons and ligaments. In some instances, the bones on the sides of the affected joint areas will be merged together. Some surgical procedures may entail the complete or partial removal of the joints under the toes to straighten them.
This is perhaps the most common foot problem that can lead to pain, discomfort, and, sometimes, infection. Ingrown toenails occur when soft skin forms on the sides of the nails. Often, this happens when you cut your nails too short or constantly wear shoes that are too tight around the toes.
Most ingrown toenails can be managed at home with the use of topical antibiotics and pain medication. If your toes become infected or if the excess growth has become a major issue, as what happens in a few cases, surgery is the next option.
The cosmetic foot surgeon will inject an anesthetic to numb the area. Then, an elastic band will be placed strategically to expose the affected area. Depending on the severity of the problem, the surgeon may only remove either the affected area or the whole toenail.
When one of the bones in your foot is dramatically smaller than the others, this is called brachymetatarsia. The condition may affect any of the toes, but it most often afflicts the fourth toe. Apart from being obviously shorter, the affected toe(s) can also appear more raised in the front portion of your feet.
Brachymetatarsia occurs when the bones in one’s toes fail to fully develop. Aside from resulting in a weird appearance, this condition can cause pain and discomfort as the affected toes can’t distribute a person’s weight more properly. Sufferers are also more prone to callus formation.
Adding length to the bones in the affected area can be done internally through a bone graft and externally with a fixator device.
Other Types Of Cosmetic Foot Procedures
Who would’ve known that you can take the fat off from your toes? If you think you have heavy or large feet, you can have the extra weight removed through this cosmetic foot procedure.
The treatment is perfect for individuals who’ve lost weight but think they need to lose more in their feet. With this slimming procedure, you’ll be able to wear narrower shoes in no time.
If your second toe is a lot longer than your big toe, it can be unsightly. More than looking unappealing, this condition can make it difficult and painful to wear certain types of shoes.
Toe shortening involves an invasive surgical procedure as a portion of the long toe bone has to be cut and removed.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Most, if not all, cosmetic foot surgeries may be considered necessary given that the sources of pain in the feet are often the causes of deformities, too. Some of these conditions, as discussed in this article, can be managed at their early stages but can worsen over time.
If you’re planning to put an end to your recurrent pain-inducing and visually displeasing foot deformities, consider getting foot surgery. Of course, ask your physician or podiatrist about the specific procedure you want, including the risks involved, to come up with an informed decision.