USATODAY.com - Podiatrists Can Plump You Up For Stilettos
By Maria Puente, USA TODAY
If you've ever wondered, enviously, how celebrity and fashion-tribe women manage to strut red carpets for hours in sky-high stilettos, here's one possible secret: collagen injections in the balls or heels of their feet.
Yes, the shoe-obsessed are padding their padding to continue their footwear obsession. Collagen or hyaluronic acid (brand name Restylane) can plump up feet the way it plumps up faces.
"It's the procedure of choice right now," says Suzanne Levine, a podiatric surgeon at Manhattan's Institute Beauté. She says she has plumped up scores of famous feet (no names, please, we're doctors), as well as ordinary mortals, with Restylane. "It's temporary — six to nine months — but it helps with high-heel mules when you're putting a lot of weight on the ball of the foot."
Alas, yet another sore sign of aging: After 40, foot padding starts to go. Still, even young and skinny women want extra upholstery down there: Heels magnify weight load on the tootsies.
Officially, American podiatrists are wary of surgical fiddling with the feet — such as toe "shortening" — just so women can wear $400 Manolo Blahniks. "Any invasive procedure, even an injection, carries some risk," says Glenn Gastwirth, executive director of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Besides, it doesn't work, says Edward Chairman, a Philadelphia podiatrist who used to inject feet with patients' own fat. It doesn't relieve the underlying problem, which is misalignment of foot bones from walking on concrete and in heels. "It's a gimmick," he says. "What is needed is (surgery)."
Still, it's logical it could work, says Peter Fodor, a Los Angeles plastic surgeon and president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, who daily injects collagen and Restylane in patients' faces. So far, no one in L.A. has asked him for foot injections — not even any Hollywood types — but he'd consider it if someone did. "These people are going to wear these shoes anyway, so if you take that as a given, then this could be a way to help them," he says.
In any case, Levine says, plumping up your feet with injections is cheaper and less risky than cut-into-the-foot surgery. On average, injections cost about $500 per syringe for Restylane and $400 for collagen, and each treatment includes one to two syringes per foot, depending on the patient. No surprise: It isn't covered by insurance.
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