We’ve all heard the saying about putting your best foot forward, but it seems that some people are taking it to extremes. Recent media reports suggest there has been an uptick in toe and foot plastic surgery. Some women want to be able to wear slinky, sexy, high-heeled sandals without pain, while others (men and women alike) hope to get rid of gnarly toe fungal infections.
But what lengths are people going to? Do any of these procedures really work? And are they safe? We spoke to New York City podiatrist Suzanne M. Levine, D.P.M, a chair of the International Aesthetic Foot Society, to get the skinny on the toe and foot plastic surgery craze. Here’s what she had to say about it.
Weight Loss Surgery for the Toes
No, we’re not talking Lap Band or gastric bypass, but many people are opting to have their toes surgically slimmed so they fit more comfortably into pointy stiletto toe boxes. This procedure usually involves liposuction to the toes. In extreme cases, some women have a toe or two removed — usually the pinky.
Verdict: Just say no! This is way radical and unlikely to be worth the risks, which include infection and difficulty walking, Levine says.”It’s ridiculous.”
Pillows for Your Feet
Coined Loub Jobs because they are in-demand by women who wish to wear high heels by designer Christian Louboutin, this procedure uses soft tissue fillers to cushion the bottom of the foot. Doctors may use fat or Sculptra to boost the heel cushion and allow women to sport their Loubs painlessly. Levine has been performing it for years on both women and men.
Verdict: Yes! These injections can cushion the heel pad and the balls of the feet, and have a proven track record. Cost varies based on the type of filler and practice locale, but usually runs between $500 and $1,500. “It’s not about fitting into pricey shoes — it’s about being comfortable on your feet,” says Levine. Men also have this procedure done to alleviate pain under the balls of their feet.
Botox injections can stop excessive (and stinky) sweating of the feet.
Verdict: Painful, but worth a shot for people plagued with sweaty feet. Botox is approved to treat excessive underarm sweating, so this isn’t much of a stretch. The catch? Results don’t last forever, and can cost up to $1,200 per treatment.
Many plastic surgeons now offer laser treatments to eradicate toe nail fungus (onychomycosis) in one session. Women (and likely some men) have also been seeking laser hair removal for their toes and feet.
Verdict: Don’t expect instant gratification. If you choose laser therapy to treat your toe nail fungus, it will take time for healthy nails to grow back in. How much time? Up to a year, but some results may be visible within three months. Treatments are costly — as high as $600 for fungus removal and $300 for hair removal.
Other Cosmetic Foot Treatments
There are also cosmetic treatments designed to resurface the skin on the foot. They include chemical peels, microdermabrasion and other facial-like treatments. Also, check out our article on toe nail fungus treatments to get information about the common foot issue.
Verdict: Often luxurious, these treatments can rejuvenate the skin of your feet. They are less risky than some pedicures, as many women get pedicures in non-sanitary places, increasing their risk for fungal infections.
If you’re thinking about foot surgery, contact a local expert to see what is available. Start your search now.