Should I Be Wary if my Podiatrist Recommends Cosmetic or “Cinderella” Surgery?

There are a number of reasons to be suspicious of a podiatrist who recommends “Cinderella surgery” (or other purely cosmetic surgery) for your feet. While a small percentage of all surgeries go awry, when there was no health-related reason to operate, serious medical mistakes are all the more unforgivable, particularly if such surgery was the podiatrist’s idea in the first place.

Why Patients Undergo Cosmetic Foot Surgery

Depending on your source, having surgery to beautify your feet is an empowering form of self-improvement or a ridiculous scam. While having cosmetic surgery to correct a serious deformity, whether congenital or due to injury or disease, seems eminently reasonable, having your foot surgically reshaped to fit into a particular type of shoe does seem to take aesthetic remedies more than a step too far.

As a consumer of healthcare services, you should be aware that the doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) ( have warned about the risk of unfavorable outcomes of foot surgeries performed for cosmetic reasons alone. Furthermore, both the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society and the American Podiatric Medical Association have made clear statements warning against the dangers of cosmetic foot surgery.

Clearly, if you decide, after weighing the benefits and risks of having a Cinderella or other cosmetic foot procedure, that you want such surgery, no one has the right to stop you. On the other hand, if you feel you are being coaxed or coerced into going under the knife in order to wear a pointy high-heeled shoe by the very doctor who intends to perform the operation, you may be falling victim to podiatric malpractice. Even worse, you may have already done so.

What Cosmetic Foot Surgeries May Involve

While for some readers it may seem incredible, some people no longer consider it totally beyond the pale to have one or more of the following cosmetic podiatric procedures:

  • Correction of a bunion or hammertoe that is causing no pain or discomfort
  • Shortening of one or more toes to fit into narrow, pointy shoes or tapered sandals
  • Having collagen injected into the toes or ball of the foot 
  • Having the pinky toe entirely removed
  • Reshaping the toes to get rid of “toebesity”

A noted podiatrist and director at a branch of the HSS has advised that the results of such procedures can be disastrous, saying: “Patients who undergo these procedures may do so believing that a 20-minute operation will enable them to wear more attractive shoes, when, in fact, they may be risking 20 or more years of disabling pain.”

If your instinct is not to take the risk, your powers of critical thinking are working well. If you went to your podiatrist because of an unexplained pain under your arch, and he or she recommended cosmetic surgery, don’t let yourself be convinced that [1] your feet are deformed and unattractive [2] being able to wear a trendy shoe is of great importance or [3] that the surgery is as quick and easy to recover from as the podiatrist implies.

Is Cosmetic Surgery of the Feet an Expression of Misogyny?

It’s hard not to read the implications of misogyny into Cinderella surgery. Although few men are willing to have surgery to make their feet more attractive, this search for morphic perfection is undeniably more prevalent among females.

After all, women have been stuffing their feet into uncomfortable shoes (leading to various ailments and deformities) for at least 150 years, while men have generally worn supportive, comfortable footwear. For some, the process of cutting female feet with knives to achieve some artificial standard of beauty is all too reminiscent of the Chinese foot binding of the 13th century.

Contact Our Experienced Podiatry Malpractice Attorney Now

Whether you have been pushed or manipulated into a cosmetic foot surgery that has caused you harm or sought to have the procedure on your own, you owe it to yourself to get in contact with Lawrence Karam, the lead podiatry malpractice attorney of Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York. He will provide you with excellent legal representation and will charge you no attorneys’ fees until he wins you the damages you deserve.

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.