Toe Shortening Surgery Seen on “The Doctors” Much More than Just a Cosmetic Procedure

Last Friday, on “The Doctors” they featured what they described as an extreme cosmetic procedure where a woman had a toe shortening surgery to wear designer high heeled shoes with less pain.  While this may initially sound like a crazy procedure you would only see in Hollywood, it is actually done across the country and here in Columbus to correct a deformity of the toes that can disrupt the normal function of the foot and cause pain when wearing ANY type of shoe.

Based on the images of the woman’s feet, it appears that she suffered from Morton’s toe.  This is actually a problem where the first metatarsal is shortened, which is called brachymetatarsia, making the second toe appear longer than normal.  In some cases, where the second toe is only slightly longer than the second this is a normal variation in the foot and will not cause pain.  However, in more extreme Morton’s toe, such as the woman on “The Doctors” had, the second metatarsal begins to bear all of the body weight that the thicker first metatarsal would normally bear.  Calluses and pain can develop in the ball of the foot in the area of increased pressure.  This painful condition is often referred to as metatarsalgia. Morton’s toe can also cause excessive pronation, or rolling in and flattening of the arch of the foot.  This overpronation contributes to the pains of metatarsalgia, as well as possibly affecting the individual’s stride enough to cause hip, back and neck pain by disrupting proper posture.  In the woman on “The Doctors” it is also likely that she would have had black or darkened toenails, causing by bruising under the nail from the long second toe hitting her pointed shoes.

While “The Doctors” made this toe shortening surgery sound like a radical and extreme way to wear more attractive shoes, the real problem was that the woman was suffering from pain associated with Morton’s toe.  For this woman, surgery was her best choice to eliminate the symptoms and the underlying toe deformity causing her pain.  For others suffering from Morton’s toe, depending on the severity of their foot problems, there are also options such as padding under the second metatarsal to relieve pain or custom orthotics to help correct the problem.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia