To sport trendy, vertiginous heels the likes of their favorite celebs, some women are opting for dermal filling in their feet -- or even toe jobs, reportedly dubbed "Loub" jobs after shoe designer Christian Louboutin -- to make the shoes less painful, according to media reports.
According to the Daily Mail in the UK last week, inquiries by women requesting dermal filler injections into the toe pads, heels and balls of their feet have grown 21 percent over the past year in the UK.
Described as being "virtually painless," the treatments involve injecting collagen into the feet to create a pillowy effect, providing built-in cushion to soften the strain of wearing high heels. The treatment, administered by an experienced practitioner, costs from £320 and results can last up to 6 months.
Why now? "The boom was revealed as it emerged sales of six-inch heels quadrupled in the past 12 months," reported the UK's Sun on Monday.
Other procedures that have been around for years but are reportedly growing in popularity in the US and UK include surgically shaving down the sides of the pinky toe, or a toe tuck, to fit into narrow, pointy shoes. Another procedure is dubbed the "Cinderella Procedure," which is a "preventative" bunion correction that narrows the foot. Also injectable fillers, traditionally used for the face, have been used for purely aesthetic reasons: to smooth out the tops of bony feet (as well as droopy knees) for summer months.
Years ago, the Daily Mail reported that women were seeking Botox injections to cure a condition known as "stilettotarsal," which causes pain in the soft tissue of the ball of the foot after years of wearing high heels.
Australian researcher Neil J. Cronin, who recently published a study on how high heels alter the biomechanics of the foot, advises that high-heel wearers try, if possible, to steer clear of the towering heights when selecting shoes. Opt for heels maybe "once or twice a week," he told The New York Times, or "try to remove the heels whenever possible, such as when you're sitting at your desk."