Women and high heels have always had an unsteady relationship. In 1533, Catherine de’ Medici wore the world’s first pair of high heels, causing a fashion frenzy and making high heels the norm (and mark of stylish distinction) for women in French and Italian courts.  Since then, in the ongoing quest to achieve a statuesque look of perfection, women have endured the indignity and discomfort of shoes that are simply painful to wear.

Fast Facts

  • The so-called “Cinderella Procedure” is a preventive bunion correction that results in a narrower foot.
  • The point of the Cinderella Procedure is to be able to wear a shoe that didn’t fit comfortably before.
  • The Cinderella Procedure is actually a combination of procedures used together to achieve the desired results.

The so-called “Cinderella Procedure” is a preventive bunion correction that results in a narrower foot. It’s goal is to make it easier for women to squeeze into stillettos. “It’s unrealistic to tell women not to wear high heels. I came up with procedures that allow the women to function, pain-free, in the real world.” said Ali Sadrieh, podiatrist and creator of the Cinderella Procedure, in an article for the Wall Street Journal.

Getting Feet to Shape Up

The point of the Cinderella Procedure is to be able to wear a shoe that didn’t fit comfortably before. The technique is almost as old as the fairy tale that inspired its name. Podiatrists have a long and rich history of re-contouring feet to make walking more comfortable for men and women alike. The Cinderella Procedure, performed exclusively for cosmetic reasons, reduces foot size with a surgery that removes bunions and brings the bone on the side of the big toe inwards. This allows women to wear high-fashion brands such as Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik which are notorious for their narrow fit.

Who Is a Good Candidate

There are no specific criteria identifying a good candidate for the Cinderella Procedure, but you should be in good general health. You may be asked to stop taking medications a few days before surgery, particularly if you take aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs. Also, you need to stop smoking before any medical procedure. Additionally, your surgeon will seek to ensure that you have realistic goals for your procedure, which is an important factor in your ultimate satisfaction as a patient.

What to Expect Before, During & After the Procedure

The Cinderella Procedure is actually a combination of procedures used together to achieve the desired results. Generally a local anesthetic called an ankle block is administered but sometimes the procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic. An ankle block makes sure you are numb below the ankle but awake for the surgery. Once you are completely numb, your surgeon will perform some or all of the following:

  • An Osteotomy – in which the surgeon cuts the big toe joint and realigns it to a normal position.
  • An Exostectomy – in which the surgeon removes the bunion from the joint without performing alignment.
  • An Arthrodesis – in which the surgeon replaces the damaged joint with screws or metal plates to correct the deformity.

You may also opt for additional surgeries to be performed at the same time. These might include toe-shortening, toe-lengthening, and fat pad augmentation or, as they’re nicknamed, the Perfect 10, the Model T and the Foot Tuck. After surgery your foot will be bandaged, and you will be taken to a recovery room where your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored. Unless there is a problem, you will be permitted to go home after a couple of hours in recovery.  Post-operative swelling resolves in 3-6 months. At that time, you will be able to see that your foot is much narrower and, if you have opted for additional procedures, a little shorter, too.

Possible Risks and Complications

According to Podiatry Today, complications from the Cinderella Procedure may include:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Excessive toe shortening
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Complex regional pain syndrome

Despite the fact that orthopedic surgeons say foot surgery should be done solely to help deformities and pain, cosmetic foot surgery is on the increase. “The desire to get into fashionable shoes is a major driving force behind the decision to have foot surgery to narrow feet and shorten toes…However, our doctors caution against doing surgery purely for aesthetic reasons because 1-3% of foot surgeries can be disasters.”  says Dr. Josef Geldwert from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City.

Rough Costs Involved

Costs for foot surgery can be around $2500 AUD per foot plus hospital fees, anaesthetist fees and surgical assistants (if required) which can add another $2500 – $4000 in total. In other words, foot surgery or the “cinderella procedure” might cost:

  • Surgeon’s fees: $1100 – $2500 per foot i.e. $2000 – $5000 total for both feet
  • Hospital fees, anaesthetist, surgical assistant fees: $2500 – $4000
  • A total of around $4500 – $9000 or more depending on the surgeon.

For a complete picture of the cost of this procedure, schedule a consultation visit with a qualified doctor which you can find by searching here. Together you can discuss Cinderella Procedure specifics and create a personalised treatment plan and price estimate.

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