We don't even want to think about how Cinderella felt dancing all night in glass slippers. (Maybe her fairy godmother's last name was Scholl's?) But it's not just fictional ladies that are willing to do whatever it takes to fit into their Manolos anymore. Now women are undergoing foot surgery to make their feet look cuter and fit better into their designer shoes. [Tweet this weird news!]
"Foot beautification is definitely a trend and many of these foot concerns are directly related to the shoes we wear," says Wendy Lewis, author of Plastic Makes Perfect. Indeed, a quick Internet search shows doctors in every state advertising cosmetic foot surgeries.
"We were mostly doing just toe shortenings in the beginning," says Oliver Zong, the surgical director at NYC Footcare. Thanks to customer demand, the clinic now has long list of ways to to make your tootsies totes adorable, including nail re-sizing, "foot facelifts," "toe tucks," and foot narrowing. But the newest thing is "toebesity" surgery, which involves the slimming down of fat toes through liposuction and surgery. Cinderella's stepsisters are probably wishing they hadn't gone the DIY route now!
Vladimir Zeetser, M.D., a California surgeon offering aesthetic foot surgery, agrees, saying, "Let's face it, image is important and cosmetic surgery is here to stay. With television shows idolizing young hip plastic surgeons and reality shows chronicling patient experiences, it is clear that people are obsessed with beauty and glamour. Beautification of the feet has arrived." He adds that while many of his patients want their feet to look better, the surgery often improves their function as well. For example, removing bunions and adding fat to the pad of the foot reduces foot pain and increases mobility.
The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, however, isn't a fan of the fad. The organization has come out against cosmetic foot surgery, saying it can lead to foot complications including permanent nerve damage, infection, bleeding, scarring, and chronic pain when walking.
But the dire warnings aren't dissuading people, says Andrew Weil, M.D., author of numerous New York Times best-sellers on health. "It seems like a bad idea to me, too, as it does to most physicians who operate on feet," he writes. "But warnings from doctors haven’t discouraged women (and some men) from getting their feet remade so they’ll look better in sandals or fit into shoes with very high heels that they shouldn’t be wearing in the first place."
So if you have the money and are self-conscious about your feet, should you spring for Cinderella surgery? We don't want to ruin your fairytale ending, but if you recall, it didn't work out so well for Cinderella's stepsisters—they ended up maimed and banished for their efforts. Tell us what you think in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.