High heels look fabulous, but they could be the cause of unwanted pain, and worse – bunions.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

High heels look fabulous, but they could be the cause of unwanted pain, and worse – bunions.

Wearing fabulous footwear can sometimes cause excruciating pain as bunions may form. But thanks to a new minimally invasive technique, you’ll soon be up and strutting your stuff again. If your toes are feeling a little squashed in those stilettos, or there’s a little red painful bump forming inside those pumps, it’s time to make a trip to the clinic.

Bunions are bony deformities that can form near the joint at the base of your big toe due to ill-fitting shoes. They can also be hereditary. If your mother or grandmother has bunions, there’s a chance you may have them. If left untreated, bunions can cause pain or difficulty wearing shoes. Mobility may also be affected. In severe cases, it can cause the other toes to “overlap”.

Help is at hand. If you develop a large and painful bunion, a minimally invasive surgery makes it possible for you to be out of the operating theatre in less than two hours, says Dr Kevin Koo, director and consultant orthopaedic foot & ankle surgeon at The Bone & Joint Centre, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

What’s even better is that the operation leaves little to no scarring, compared to the older invasive techniques that would leave a 5 to 8cm scar, as well as potential keloid scarring. 

However, not all bunions are suitable for treatment using this new technique. Late-stage, severe bunions are still best treated with traditional open surgery. Thus, seeking early medical attention from a specialist is even more important.

Keyhole surgery for early-stage or mild/moderate bunions has been shown to be less painful. It also has fewer wound complications, compared with the traditional method. The tiny cuts are each 4mm or less – almost unnoticeable on the feet.

“I am used to seeing 80 to 120 women of working age in my clinic and performing between eight and 15 bunion surgeries a month,” says Dr Koo, who is one of a few doctors in Singapore offering this innovative technique. 

You’ll be given special post-op slippers to wear for six weeks (no heels during this period). This is worth the effort for smooth and bunion-free feet. So if you feel any discomfort or pain, get it checked out as soon as possible so you can get back to wearing those beautiful shoes.

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Director and Consultant Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon at The Bone & Joint Centre, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

Call 9898-7781 or e-mail drkevinkoo@ for enquires or to book an appointment.

Facebook / Instagram: @bjc.ortho, @drkevinkoo