Posts for tag: High Heels

A bunion is a bump on the joint of the big toe — called the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint — that forms when the bone or tissue on that joint moves out of place and extends out beyond the normal anatomical curvature of the toe. Because this joint carries much of the body’s weight while walking, bunions can cause debilitating pain if left untreated. Unfortunately, bunions do not go away over time. In fact, if you ignore it, the condition will only get worse ... and worse ... until the pain is so debilitating you have no choice but to see a podiatrist.

Bunions are brought about by years of abnormal motion and pressure on the MTP joint brought on by the way we walk, our genetic foot type or our shoe choices. People who suffer from flat feet or low arches are also at added risk along with arthritic patients and those with inflammatory joint disease. Typically, we treat many younger women who have been wearing ill-fitting shoes (the wrong size or styles which squeeze toes together) and athletes wearing the wrong size athletic shoe apparel.

How can I get rid of it?

We will initally recommend selecting a shoe with a wide and deep toe box. Stay away from shoes with heels higher than two inches. Custom Orthotics may be useful in controlling foot function and may reduce symptoms and prevent worsening of the deformity. Apply an over-the-counter, non-medicated bunion pad around the bunion any time you wear a shoe. If your bunion is inflamed and sore, apply ice packs several times a day to reduce swelling.

If these initial efforts fail, it’s time to see a podiatrist who specializes in bunion therapy. Initially, the podiatrist may prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug and/or cortisone injection to reduce pain and inflammation. Ultrasound therapy is also a popular technique for treating soft tissue damage.

Surgical options for the most serious bunions

When these doctor-prescribed therapies fail, podiatric surgery may be needed to permanently relieve pressure and repair the toe joint. A bunionectomy will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and alleviate the pain. But understand, the short-term recovery from this type of surgery takes time and discomfort can last several weeks. 

Prevention tips

The best defense against bunions is to prevent them:

• Avoid shoes with pointed triangular tips and wearing high heels for extended periods of time each day.

• Know your “real” shoe size (today) which can increase with age, weight gain and pregnancy.

See a board-certified podiatrist at the first sign of a bunion deformity.

Like any medical condition, treating bunions early on saves time, discomfort and money down the line. Seek treatment now before the condition worsens and a more invasive course of action is needed.

I would like to invite you to peruse with me on a short hiatus from the informative reports on classic foot and ankle pathology and dip your feet in the ocean of medical ethics. As I filtered through some blogs that I occasionally find myself reading, I happened to come across a short article entitled “The Bioethics of Podiatry,” by Michael Cook. It was posted in late April of this year in The BioEdge, a weekly newsletter discussing frequently encountered bioethical issues. Obviously, as a foot and ankle specialist, the report was intriguing.

The article by Cook was a short, few paragraphs highlighting the “burgeoning field of aesthetic podiatry.” Cook mentions that Podiatrist, particularly in the Manhattan and Beverly Hills areas, are delving more and more into this realm and points out that an ever growing interest in foot and ankle surgery exists for the sole purpose of accommodating fashionable shoe gear. Now, I had to finish the article and investigate further as I found this troubling. Cook continues, and quotes a podiatrist in the Beverly Hills area who stated, “On the surface, it looked shallow. But I came to see she needs these shoes to project confidence, they are part of her outside skin. That’s the real world.” Herein rests our question and why I titled the blog the way I did. First of all, is there an ethical concern with placing an individual under the knife for fashion’s sake, especially if the patient requests such actions? Lastly, what does this say about our culture that one’s confidence hinges on their outward appearance or fashion?

Now, I am not seeking to answer these questions in this blog per se, but perhaps provoke a form of mental dialogue. The podiatrist quoted above has a full marketing video highlighting procedures that he has renamed such as the High Heel Foot, Perfect 10 (toe shortening), and Foot Tuck (fat augmentation). All these procedures are designed to surgically modify ones foot to accommodate fashionable shoe gear. In my opinion, the Hippocratic Oath of “Do no harm,” screams out in this scenario. Any surgical procedure no matter how big or small carries significant risks of potential complications. Even if patients urgently request surgery for dreams of a fashion statement, one needs to consider the potential ethical ramifications; unless of course, you deem ethics as relative, which is yet another discussion all together. Regardless, what is more troubling, a surgeon willing to operate on otherwise healthy feet for improperly designed shoes or the fact that people are willing to take such risks in attempts to be fashionable? Or, is either troubling at all?

As foot and ankle surgeons our group is committed to improving quality of life, restoring functionality, and saving limbs and lives with our surgical and medical expertise. There comes a time when one must realize or understand that certain things or fashions are of the utmost importance. It is unfortunate that people feel they need inhumanly designed fashion to project confidence. It is certainly, in my opinion, a sad commentary on our culture and society. 

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