Volumes of scientific studies, popular press articles and even countless numbers of books have been written about one of America’s most dangerous public health threats: obesity. It’s threatening younger and older generations alike. Despite many different types of approaches, the ability to reduce our communal waistline hasn’t budged much. Hidden in that effort is another, much less discussed fight against fatness: this one involving our feet – specifically, our toes. While obesity gets the headlines, toe-obesity gets whispered exasperation.
Removing extra fat from unwanted spots – waists, rear ends, thighs and even arms – has been the target of liposuction and other types of body sculpting approaches for at least 30 years. Until recently, however, talk about removing unwanted fat from our toes was, at best, a fiction, not fact. Perhaps this is the case no longer.
‘New’ Plastic Surgery: Are Toes the New Nose?
High heels: A lot of women hate them, but a lot of women love them. Regardless of which camp you’re in, everyone agrees those shoes can hurt. Part of the trend toward foot and toe surgery focuses on making your foot fit as comfortably as possible.
Some of the toe/feet procedures:
- Toe shortening
- Fat injections into foot pads
- Toe liposuction
- Pinky toe ‘tuck’
“All the girls are wearing cute high heels, open toes and they look pretty, and me – I have to wear always closed shoes because I feel like they’re staring at my long toe,” one 20-something woman told ABC News recently, just before she had surgery to make her second toe shorter than her big toe.
There’s Toe Thinning, and There’s Also Toe Plumping
Another procedure gaining traction in the world of foot procedures plumps up the bottom of the foot to make wearing high heels and other fashionable footwear more comfortable. It involves liposuctioning fat from a region where a patient has excess fat and injecting it into the balls of the feet. Also, there is a pinky toe tuck, in which fat is taken out of the little toe to make it narrower.
Doctors are not Wild About Toe-obesity Fighting Procedures
While foot aesthetic surgery is picking up patient momentum and interest, it is largely disliked by The American Podiatric Medical Association and officially opposed by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) because of risks and complications of the operation. Several board certified plastic surgeons interviewed for this article expressed concern about some of the aforementioned treatments.
“When you start talking about liposuction procedures from the ankle and below, you have to remember there are a lot of complex issues,” says Robert Whitfield, MD, a board certified plastic surgeon in Austin. “It would be much better and safer if you worked your way up the leg, especially from the ankle up.”
Fixing Toe-besity is Definitely Newly Trending
“Over the course of my practice, I’ve had multiple patients want odd things done to their feet and ankles,” says board certified plastic surgeon Shaun Parson, MD, who practices in Scottsdale. “I’ve actually made cankles for different patients. It’s a real thing.”
New York City-based board certified plastic surgeon Tracy Pfeifer, MD isn’t surprised by people’s interest in having pretty feet, but she says their interest is a little misguided. “It doesn’t surprise me that people are interested in having their toes look pretty but I would say more importantly take care of your feet from a health standpoint,” Dr. Pfeifer tells The Plastic Surgery Channel.
It May be Funny, but Do You Have a Huge Toe?
While the procedures seem esoteric, if someone is curious about the options, it’s worth it to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience. The procedures are not common and many surgeons may not take any professional interest, but it’s always a great idea to consult with the best and see if this is something with real results, or just another wild trend for a select few.