How far would you go for beauty? - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

How far would you go for beauty?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

For many young girls dressing up like Cinderella was always a childhood fantasy, including slipping a dainty, delicate size 6 into a beautiful shoe.

Now let's talk about reality.  

Most women don't have perfect, narrow feet, with high arches and exquisite toes which align into the perfect angle.

Let's be real.

Most of us have imperfect feet including bunions, corns, wide or flat feet, warts, spurs or even hammer toes.  

The desire for beautiful feet has some women running into surgery, even if it means altering a healthy foot. 

"It was mostly uncomfortable in my heels. I tried to wear more wedge shoes then actual stiletto types heels, but with today's fashion it's hard to choose one over the other," says patient Heather Sgouridis.

She says her feet were anything but healthy. Sgouridis has spent years two-stepping on hammer toes. After years of trouble wearing heels she decided to make a change.

"I had all of my hammer toes taken care of here," she said. "I had them cut; lengthened all tendons on my toes. I've known I've needed the surgery for several years, they've just gotten worse and worse."

"I think if a woman has a foot deformity that makes it difficult to accommodate shoe wear," said Dr. Ana Palmieri, orthopedic surgeon. "I think surgery could possibly make sense."

More and more women are opting for surgery in hopes of wearing a beautiful pair of high heels and strutting like a model. There's just something about a beautiful foot with toes draped in a rich colored polish. 

"I was embarrassed to get pedicures, now I'm hoping I won't be in the future," Sgouridis said.

More women are putting their feet in the hands of a surgeon. They're asking for their toes to be lengthened, or shortened, padding the balls of their feet, cutting down bunions or straightening hammer toes. 

"I think there's a fine line between deformity and cosmetics," Dr. Palmieri said, who adds her patients are choosing foot surgery not just because they want to wear a high heeled shoe but to correct deformity.

But with any surgery there is a risk.

"We're breaking bones that may not heal and then it may not heal properly," Dr. Palmieri added, 'If they're wearing very high heel and pointed shoes, the deformity may come back."

Even with successful foot surgeries Dr. Palmieri says the healing process takes months, not just a few weeks. 

"At three months you may be able to accommodate a low heel with a shoe that has accommodations for swelling," Dr. Palmieri said. "But you have to tell every patient you will most likely have intermittent swelling for up to a year."

So ladies, if you're thinking about foot surgery, understand the consequences knowing the process takes time.  Also, wearing a high heel can put up to seven times increased pressure on the ball of your foot.

Instead of strapping on a six-inch tower, maybe try a more comfortable three-inch.

"I think a lot of people think they can come in and have it done for breakfast and go out to dinner in their fancy heels for dinner that night," Dr. Palmieri said. "That's just not the case."

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