(NEW YORK POST) — This poor guy really got off on the wrong foot.
A 21-year-old man born with nine toes on his left foot finally had the four extra digits surgically removed after a lifetime of living with the deformity.
The man, who doctors identified only as Ajun, told news service Asia Wire that his parents were reluctant to do the surgery when he was a baby — since a fortune teller claimed the extra toes were “a gift from the heavens.”
The deformity, Polydactyly, is a rare birth defect more common among males.
Though he was able to walk, Ajun, a native of Lufeng City in South China’s Guangdong Province, spent his life ashamed to wear sandals. It impacted his social life and mental health.
“I’ve never had a girlfriend because I’m so imperfect,” he said. “I never thought I’d find anyone who wants to be with me.”
Ajun said his parents were “superstitious, so they didn’t deal with it. They thought if it really looked too bad, I could just cover it with my shoes.” Ajun sought medical help at the Shunde Heping Surgical Hospital in the city of Foshan. His doctor, Wu Xiang, said Ajun’s condition is rarely seen in someone his age.
“Surgery can happen as early as one year old, but no later than six years old,” Wu said. “This is better for the child’s psychological well-being, but earlier operations also lead to better recovery results.”
The surgery took nine hours and involved heavy reconstruction.
“Other hospitals would’ve just removed his outermost extra toes,” Wu said. “That would’ve been the easiest solution, but it wouldn’t look the best. His most natural looking toe is on the outside, so we decided to migrate it inwards to its most ideal position, replacing his fifth digit and creating a new big toe.”
But it was worth it. Ajun said he’s thrilled with the operation. He’ll recover in the hospital for a few more weeks.
“I think my foot is perfect.”