"Working in corporate American you have to be trendy and where the latest style shoes, so I'm a very interested in shoes, I love shoes, I love shoe stores and I'm always shopping on line for shoes." Charlene Strachan couldn't fit into the shoes she liked and had a lot of pain. "It was part cosmetic and part health issues, partly because of the pain." Podiatrist dr. Oliver Zong's patients are like Charlene, mostly 18 to 40. "The bulk of the patients are having surgeries like foot narrowing or toe shortening, so they are able to better fit inside of their shoes."
Shoes that aren't exactly in the natural shape of a woman's foot. But they look good! "A narrowing procedure would involve working on both sides of the foot. The foot gets squeezed in and the foot becomes more narrow, we also, often times we remove fat whenever we see on either side of the foot. Another procedure which is really popular is a toe-shortening procedure. As you can this toe here is significantly longer than the big toe, and a lot of women complain about that. They don't like the way it looks," says Dr. Zong.
And then there's the big problems that happen with the little piggy. "When women are wearing their high heels shoes or stylish shoes they complain "my pinky toe is killing me, can you do something about that?" So what we do is something called a toe-tuck where we make the toe a little bit skinnier a little bit shorter. Where we take out a little piece a bone and we also cut another bone in half and that toe than sits straighter and um, it's a little bit skinnier, so that they are able to wear a very pointy toe type of shoe," states Dr. Zong.
Charlene says, "I was thrilled that I didn't have to live with foot pains for the rest of my life. And at the same time, the procedure enhances the appearance of your foot so that's a bonus." Dr. Zong will tell you this is a big orthopedic procedure. Bones are being cut, a lot of times screws are being placed; you are getting wires, pins things being put into the foot.
Procedures take anywhere from a half hour up to about 3 hours. You will have surgery that day, and you will actually walk out of the operating room and walk home. But recovery is anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks usually. The cost: anywhere from 10,000 - 20,000 per foot. A toe will cost you a grand or so. They usually recommend one foot at a time.