(410) 721-4505

2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114



By Crofton Podiatry
June 28, 2016
Category: Foot Conditions

In China, the practice of foot binding can be traced back to the first millennium. It was in attempts to imitate the notion of beauty regarding feet at the time. Girls as young as 3 years old would have their feet dramatically deformed by breaking of bones and having them reset in a manner that would shorten the length of their feet and make their arches higher. According to a study of some of these women, foot binding deformities were so severe that they increased the likelihood of falls, decreased ability to do squats or rise from a chair without help, and had lower bone density in the hip and spine.

While the traditional practice of foot binding is long gone, there are many comparisons that can be made in modern day. For the notion of beauty, there are procedures done and sacrifices made that may ultimately result in foot deformities and long-term negative consequences.

One such procedure is called cosmetic toe-shortening. This is usually done in conjunction with other surgical procedures such as bunion removal. The shortening process is done by removing a knuckle and pinning the toe back together. While there are medical reasons to undergo this procedure, like diabetic ulcers or hammertoes, the cosmetic reasons have to do with attaining prettier or shorter feet that can fit into high heels and other restrictive footwear without having “clown feet”.

But is the pain worth the sacrifice? Removal of the knuckle limits the toe’s functional abilities, like for rock climbing, yoga, or other activities that require the toes to bend and grip. The recovery period is also significant, with some requiring 12 weeks of no pressure on the foot. And while fitting into high heels can be nice, there are some that associate narrow shoes with causing or at least contributing to bunion development – which would deform the feet again. Additionally, since this is more of a newly developed procedure, there hasn’t been much research done on what the long-term effects of toe-shortening might be. Like with the Chinese practice of foot binding, they could cause imbalance and other foot issues in the long run.

In almost all cases, toe-shortening is not medically necessary. Therefore, before considering any type of cosmetic procedure to your feet, consult our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. It is important to discuss all the possible outcomes, discuss alternatives, and understand what the actual benefits and consequences are before you proceed with any type of foot or ankle related procedure. Dr. Toll will help you make an informed decision, using the latest diagnostic and therapeutic technology. Make an appointment today by calling our Crofton, MD office at  (410) 721-4505.



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2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114

Podiatrist - Crofton, Crofton Podiatry, 2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25, Crofton MD, 21114 (410) 721-4505