Are you a shoe-in for a foot facelift?

Posted on October 15th, 2009 by Michelle

Foot X-RayStarting off on the wrong foot is such a bummer, right?  Now you can do something about it.

Foot facelifts and cosmetic foot surgery are becoming as mainstream as open-toed shoes.  Or maybe we should say they’re becoming mainstream BECAUSE of open-toed shoes. With sexy slides and slinky sandals as the accepted style choice, there’s nowhere for ugly piggies to hide. A pedicure alone won’t improve “toe cleavage.”

Designer feet are gaining a toehold in medical offices around the country. Even the podiatrists are evolving their thinking.  The Manhattan phone book is filled with “Cosmetic Foot Surgeons,” indicating a market need that has nothing to do with pain.  The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) surveyed their podiatric surgeons recently and found 51 percent of their patients are asking for cosmetic procedures on their hoofs, according to

Made popular by runway models who are expected to balance themselves on spikes, these “toe tucks” have gone well beyond getting Botox shots in your arches to relieve the discomfort of five inch stilettos.  Women are getting their foot bones broken, shaved, reshaped – and in extreme cases, we’ve read reports of amputation of whole toes – for the sake of foot vanity.

Knowing several women who have had simple (we use the word “simple” very broadly here) bunion surgery, we can tell you emphatically that the result is amazing and beautiful and today’s surgery rarely leaves scars. We can also tell you the pain is astounding and the recovery time is long – several weeks of bandages, 6-8 weeks with some sort of cast or boot and months of swelling and discomfort. Depending on what you have done, costs may range from $4,000-$12,000, but we couldn’t find definitive price estimates.  No doctor is quoting fees for slicing off a whole toe yet, we suspect.  Of course, if your surgery is a medical necessity because of the pain and side effects from bunions or hammertoe, insurance may cover some or most of the bill.

There are 33 bones and a bunch of tendons in the feet, tasked with the job of bearing your weight and keeping you mobile. One foot surgeon estimated that we walk about 150,000 miles in our lifetime. Dog owners, speed walkers and Phish fans can probably add at least a few hundred more miles to that.  The bottom line is that your feet take a pounding like no other part of your body and eventually it shows.

Both the AOFAS and American Podiatric Medical Association have come out against cosmetic foot surgery, saying operations on the foot are too serious to be done for aesthetic reasons.

More foot surgeons, however, are acknowledging that often, the Feet Complete the style package. And everyone hates getting things started on the wrong foot.

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.