Fancy Feet

A new and unusual form of cosmetic surgery is growing in popularity due to an increasing desire to rid the feet of fat toes.  This condition has been dubbed ‘toe-besity’.  While it may at first appear to come under the heading of “what will they think of next”, it seems that an odd-looking toe is a source of great embarrassment for many Americans who are turning to podiatrists for toe re-shaping surgery.

Evidence would appear to indicate that people are beginning to obsess over minute details of their feet, for example the width of their toes. Dr. Zong, who is the surgical director at NYC FootCare and has been in practice for about a decade, reports that when he started toe reshaping was unheard of. This is rapidly changing:

‘When people first started asking, I said ‘What?'” We were mostly doing toe shortenings in the beginning.’

For obvious reasons toe re-shaping surgery is considered entirely elective, so insurance companies will not cover the costs which can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

While Dr. Zong doesn’t see the harm in performing cosmetic procedures, as long as they are safe and as long as there is something to fix cosmetically, other podiatrists do not support the idea of cosmetic foot surgery.

Dr. Hillary Brenner, a podiatric surgeon in New York and a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association said: ‘I don’t think it’s ethical unless you’re having pain.

‘You’re undergoing risks – there’s the risk of anesthesia, infection, deformity of the toe if the surgery is not done right, a risk of re-occurrence and the risk of surgery in general,’ she said. ‘It’s trauma to the foot.’

However Dr. Zong believes toe surgery is the same as any other type of plastic surgery procedure, in that it helps patients who are embarrassed to gain self-esteem.  He argues:

‘They feel more confident. Some people have said they’re so embarrassed that their boyfriends have never seen their feet,’ he said.

Another increasingly requested toe surgery is women requesting the removal of their pinky toes so that they can fit into smaller, narrower shoes.  What will they think of next?

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