The “Pump Bump” may sound, in its most innocent form, like a new dance move, but what it actually refers to is a permanent notch on the back of the heel caused by wearing stilettos and other high-heeled footwear.
Coutorture—that is, the concept of suffering for fashion—is however, by no means a new notion. From ancient Chinese foot binding to this summer’s five-and-a-half inch YSL Tribute platform, it seems fashion has always trumped function when it comes to ladies footwear. While some would argue that it was the “Sex and the City” set that first glorified the stiletto as an everyday shoe—and in some cases, even a shoe fit for running ala one Miss Carrie Bradshaw—the reality is high heels have always been considered the sexiest and most alluring shoes in a women’s wardrobe, the big guns if you will.
However, those same high heels that turn heads can actually turn your once primped and pedicured feet into distorted versions of their former selves. According to recent statistics, 82% of women report foot pain and a further 72% have ‘fessed up to foot abnormalities including ingrown toenails, fungus, calluses, bunions, corns, fallen arches, and nerve injuries to name a few. And to make matters even worse, these same deformities can lead to poor posture and pain in the back, hip, knee, and perhaps most surprisingly, the jaw.
But before you swear off stilettos and start thumbing through an AARP magazine in search of some serious orthopedic shoes, there’s plenty of ways around the issue. For those with money—and, some would argue, a lack of common sense—surgery has emerged as a promising option to fix podiatric problems or even just pretty-up wayward piggies.
While some surgeries—such as bunion removal and toe straightening—are specifically designed to alleviate foot pain, other procedures are decidedly more cosmetic in nature. Today’s women, for example, can opt for Restalyne injections in the ball of the foot to cushion the soles and make wearing high heels more comfortable. Worried about toe-besity? Perhaps consider liposuction on the toes or sign up for surgical narrowing of the feet. And if, after all this Cinderella, those Choos still don’t fit, maybe it’s time to consider lopping off the pinky toe or having that second toe shortened so you can squeeze your foot into the proverbial glass slipper.
Despite rave reviews from fashionistas who have opted for the surgeries—which often run around $20,000—podiatrists typically shy away from performing any procedure specifically designed to improve the aesthetic of the feet. They warn that in addition to a recovery period that can leave patients sidelined for upwards of three months, complications, although rare, can prove devastating, leading to a lifetime of corrective procedures, decreased mobility, and disabling pain. At its worst, the surgeries can leave women unable to wear any shoes, let alone fashionable ones.
For those unwilling to go the surgical route, there are a number of more conservative medical routes that can be taken to prevent or even reverse foot damage. Specifically, patients can undergo physical therapy to increase the range of motion in the joints of the foot and ankle to decrease pain and reduce swelling, begin wearing prescription orthotics to address structural abnormalities and reposition the foot, or even receive regular, ultrasound-guided cortisone injections to quickly and effectively introduce anti-inflammatory medications into the Achilles tendon, heel, toes, or other areas where there is direct swelling or pain.
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