More Women are Getting Foot Surgery to Comfortably Wear Designer Shoes

How far would you go for a pair of Louboutins? What about foot surgery? More and more women are surgically altering their feet so they can comfortably wear designer heels. Sound extreme to you? Good, you're human.

The New York Times recently spoke to some high-profile podiatrists who all had stories about women seeking to change the shape of their feet to accommodate their beloved stilettos. Dr. Ali Sadrieh, who founded Evo Advanced Foot Surgery in Beverly Hills, said he was originally disturbed by the trend but eventually came to understand why women would take such dramatic action.

“Patients would bring in shoes they dreamed of wearing,” he said over tea recently at the St. Regis New York, where he was staying to see New York patients. “On the surface, it looked shallow. But I came to see she needs these shoes to project confidence, they are part of her outside skin. That’s the real world.”

Um, what? That's the real world? I think the "real world" is about wearing shoes that are right for the feet you have, not shelling out thousands of dollars to literally carve your feet to fit your closet full of Manolos. But I guess that's just me.

Dr. Sadrieh has capitalized on the trend by coining a few fashionable names for various procedures. There's the Cinderella (a colloquial name for a bunionectomy), the Perfect 10! (aesthetic toe-shortening), the Model-T (toe-lengthening), and the Foot Tuck (a fat-pad augmentation that makes high heels more comfortable). These cutesy names are clever and probably excellent for business. What's troubling is how many women were asking for these procedures before they had quirky names.

Another podiatrist, Dr. Neal Blitz (coolest name ever, by the way), who works out of Manhattan, calls the feet "the final frontier" of cosmetic surgery. "My practice has exploded because of Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Nicholas Kirkwood,” he told the Times. “There’s nothing like opening a shoe closet that’s been closed to somebody for years.”

An America Now segment from 2013 refers calls this phenomenon "stiletto surgery," which involves one of several procedures:

removing a cylinder of bone from the toe, slimming down down it's length, or injecting fillers into the foot to add padding, or simply lobbing off the pinky toe to add extra wiggle room inside a shoe that's notoriously painful to walk in.

Despite the enthusiastic endorsements from the New York Times podiatrists, America Now found that many doctors believe foot surgery should only be performed for restorative purposes.

The American Podiatric Medical Association and many of their physicians warn that foot surgery should only be performed for medical reasons — to restore function or reconstruct a deformity.

I suppose that if you have the disposable income (America Now quoted $500 to $1,500 per toe), the ability to wear designer heels comfortably is preferable to hobbling around in pain. But this just seems crazy to me! I love shoes, and, were I fabulously wealthy, would certainly own a closet full of Nicholas Kirkwood pumps. But, rather than foot surgery, maybe these women would be happy investing in some Dr. Scholl's inserts and sticking to flats on a day-to-day basis?