More Women Are Literally Chopping Off Their Pinky Toes to Fit Into High Heels

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More women are chipping away at their feet — a shortened toe here, a completely amputated pinky there — so they can prance around in spindly heels with ease.


Foot surgery is nothing new; we've written about it before. But according to Dr. Nathan Lucas, a podiatrist who is apparently the Auguste Rodin of cosmetic foot surgery, it's going mainstream. He told Fox News that more and more women are looking into surgical options (another fun one involves simply injecting collagen into the balls of the feet "for added cushion," wheee!); he saw as many as 30 patients a month in the last year.

"It's on the rise here [in Memphis, Tennessee] because the more people know about it, then of course the more they inquire about it, and they seek to get certain things done, just because they didn't know, they didn't know it exists," said Lucas.

My first instinct is to launch into an impassioned rant against the patriarchy/fashion industry/history of foot binding, all while wincing and rubbing my feet. But I'm conflicted about this, as I have no problem with plastic surgery, because as much as I despise the concept of women chopping off and injecting shit into their feet so they can emulate models and celebrities who teeter around in high heels because they don't actually have to walk anywhere or do anything — and the idea of little girls growing up and thinking they have to undergo painful modifications to be beautiful — I don't think it's my place to tell other women what to do with their money and their bodies.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, eighty-seven percent of women have had foot problems from wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes. In a perfect world, fashion brands would stop manufacturing expensive, uncomfortable shoes, and/or women wouldn't teeter around in them. But we're already clarified that wearing heels (or anything else) doesn't make you a bad feminist. If someone wants to alter her feet so she can slide on whatever footwear she chooses — and feels happier and more self confident as a result — is that really so horrible?


"Unless you've been there, and you can't find shoes, and you're in pain, don't judge," said Susan Deming, a patient who is one step ahead of me on the "don't judge" front. She recently had about a centimeter of her second toe cut off and she is very, very happy about it. "I was having calluses, and just, all sorts of problems with my left foot. And there finally was a solution. There's never been a solution before."

Lucas also added that foot surgery recipients feel like they are "walking on pillows when they wear their high heel shoes." (Maybe they are also on LSD?) Denning seems to concur; she said she didn't care if her decision was vain, because she's "never felt this good about something I've done."


Purportedly heavenly results aside, I'll side with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons' official opinion on cosmetic foot surgery on this one: don't do it unless your feet are actually fucked up. Please? "Surgery performed solely for the purpose of improving the appearance or size of the foot or ankle carries risks without medical benefit, and therefore should not be undertaken," they say. Also: clogs are really comfortable! And you don't have to lose a pinky toe to wear them.


Image via rockey/Shutterstock.



As a guy who has a hard time finding shoes that fit right, I must confess to having considered lopping off that always-sore left pinkie toe.

I don't know exactly how I messed my feet up a few years ago— ill-fitting shoes and a lot of walking— but it seems that when they're gone, they're gone.