Toe-besity: Plastic Surgery for Feet

child in red heels

In all honesty, when I first saw this story pop up in my feed, I thought it must be a joke. It isn’t.

Apparently more and more people are seeking out podiatrists, for elective surgery to treat their – as Dr. Oliver Zong calls it – “toe-besity.” Yes, plastic surgery on their feet. Apparently, the need for cute toes and the ability to fit into uncomfortable high-heeled shoes is worth the thousands of dollars in costs; plus the risks of “anesthesia, infection, deformity of the toe if the surgery is not done right, a risk of reoccurrence and the risk of surgery in general,” as outlined by podiatrist Dr. Hillary Brenner.

According to Dr. Zong, “‘We were mostly doing toe shortenings in the begining.' Now, he said, more and more people are zoning in on the smaller details of their feet, like the width of their toes.”

Wow. There are women – apparently quite a number of them – who are interested in having their pinky toes shaved down, or even removed, to fit into shoes. Taking off a toe? Really? How do we go from walking around the house in plastic princess shoes and underpants and thinking we look amazing to considering removing body parts to fit into poorly designed footwear? 

I am all for taking steps to establish a healthy body image. And – truth be told – I have one very ugly toe. I broke it years ago and it never healed quite right. It has caused pain and some embarrassment. But I can’t see opting for plastic surgery to correct it. The costs – both financial and physical – of undergoing such a surgery don’t seem worth it to me. I’m going to stick with my ugly toe. I hope I can teach my kids to feel the same. 

How about you? Are your feet important to your self-image? Would cute toes be worth the risk? 

What do you think?

Toe-besity: Plastic Surgery for Feet

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Sara McTigue, CLCEditor Sara McTigue, CLC says:

    Yes! I thought of the Cinderella story too. Ouch!

  2. Profile photo of sukismom sukismom says:

    Yuck! (Didn’t one of Cinderella’s evil step sisters do this?.. in the original story) Who would want to pay somebody to, basically, mutilate them. Pretty soon the east coast is going to have their own species. Their children will start evolving to be born with less and smaller toes…. And I thought cankle reduction was out there.

  3. There is actually a medical condition called hammer toe, it happens when a toe is much longer than the others. My mom had surgery for it years ago. They remove the middle bone from the toe and merge the other two back together… She’s got a lot of pain from it still. If not medically needed, I wouldn’t do it.

  4. If you have the money, go for it. However, a lot of foot surgeries don’t turn out that great. Feet are tough to heal properly, because you’re always on them. My mom had the middle bone out of some of her toes removed, because her second toe was WAY longer than any other other ones and caused her to have so called hammer toes. I had surgery on my toes due to severe ingrown nails.. it took two years just for the incision to close up. This was 10 years ago. It still is a big ugly scar that hurts sometimes. My mom wears a size 12.. I wear a 12/13, depending on width. I can force my feet in an 11, but I will only do it every once in a while, and again, the shoe has to be wide. It’s frustrating sometimes, there are few shoes I fit. I found Soft Style shoes from Hushpuppies to be a decent fit. Work shoes I simply purchase men’s, which are often still not wide enough. I don’t think any amount of surgery would fix that issue haha.

  5. Profile photo of MrsB MrsB says:

    Feet are feet. If someone is making fun of your feet, they need to get a life! Be proud of your feet, big or small – they are yours, be happy you have them and hopefully they work.

  6. Profile photo of Tobi Tobi says:

    I think this is rediculous. I just had corrective foot surgery and would never volunteer to suffer just to LOOK better.. all feet are ugly. But they are to walk on, not to stare at. Rediculous! Any doctor who would remove a healthy limb just because someone pays them to is a QUACK! That’s all I have to say.. I could go on and on, but I won’t…. Ugh…

  7. Profile photo of baby baby says:

    i love how my feet are and so does everyone else. but if i could go 1 size down i def. would with surgery. But where im from and my culture and the things i’ve seen YES feet is a BIG deal in the community. the first thing people do when they see you is look at your toes, if they are showing. if your toes look absolutely crazy i believe you should want to do something to make them look better (for yourself). i’ve seen some cazy looking toes. looking at how someone keeps their feet tells A LOT about a person. if u have "ugly" feet and u have money do youself a favor.

  8. Profile photo of TiffanyS TiffanyS says:

    I have unattractive pinky toes, with almost zero nail, but I like my feet just fine. They do what they were intended to do. And as much as I love wearing cute shoes, after having 2 kids, wearing heels is a lot less important to me. But I can see how others might want to do this. I was almost hoping that they were getting toe lipo!

  9. Profile photo of Sara McTigue, CLCEditor Sara McTigue, CLC says:

    Rachel – I think there is a drastic difference between someone who finds that their entire life is affected by the pain and discomfort of a foot issue vs. someone who wants to wear fancy stilettos all the time, but could easily wear any other shoes. I’m sorry you’ve struggled with comfort and accessibility for your shoes – and I can see how that could be truly discouraging.

  10. Profile photo of Rachel Rachel says:

    To be honest I have wide feet. Always have and I always will. They cause me embarrassment and any shoe that is pointy is out of the question. Even on my wedding day when I decided to wear fancy shoes it was painful. The bottom of fancy shoes are not wide and even when you order the wide width they still are too thin for my feet. So the entire time I am getting married I suffered pain because my feet were hanging over my shoe, literally a piece of my feet just hanging there the whole time.

    I don’t think people with thin feet should comment on this, I doubt you can actually understand the problem, pains etc. When I see women walking around in boots, I want that to be me, those high heeled killers me, but it’s never going to happen. If I had the money and I wouldn’t loose any toes I might consider reconstruction surgery so that I could fit into all those beautiful shoes I have always admired from a far.

    As it is now I am most comfortable in flip flops and that is what I wear. Or flat shoes, never pointy and if I wear a heel it’s always a chunky one because I can usually find those with wide bases…but a high heel is almost impossible. Not to mention shoe shopping is never easy. I’ll see a dozen I’d love to wear but I’m lucky if half come in a wide width. Like I said I doubt you can understand unless you live with it.

  11. Profile photo of Carrie Carrie says:

    Wow, who pays that much attention to feet?

  12. Profile photo of Carrie Carrie says:

    Oh my goodness, my 2cnd toes are longer than my big toes.That is completely normal. There are tons of people like that and it’s a dominant feature so there will be tons more. She’s 11 years old, all she should worry about is having fun.

  13. Profile photo of Sami Sami says:

    That is crazy! I don’t like my feet much but usually a cute pair of shoes or sandles take care of that problem.

  14. Profile photo of claudia claudia says:

    This is really sad. I have a niece who is 11yrs old, she has two very long toes that stick out longer than all the other toes. It looks very bad and people always stare. she is starting to feel really embarrassed by this. I don’t blame the child for feeling this way. Her mom is looking into this type of surgery for her. Obviously her parents have not taught her how to feel good about who she is rather than what she looks like. It breaks my heart. this is bad.

  15. Profile photo of Brittney Brittney says:

    I have a million other things that my money could go to better use than this. I’d never spend that much on my feet. Honestly, who stares at my feet anyway?

  16. Profile photo of marylove marylove says:

    I actually like my feet… I am not a foot person at all but I like the way my feet look… Call me crazy but I don’t see anything wrong with them…

  17. Profile photo of heps7 heps7 says:

    That is ridiculous. I have what I consider the ugliest feet I have ever seen. But I have no problem wearing flip flops year round. I don’t wear heels because they are so uncomfortable. I could care less what people think about my feet.


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