"Stiletto lift" - Foot fillers or Botox for the Feet
Shoe addicts have stumbled upon the newest trend in cosmetic procedures: "Foot fillers" or Botox for the feet.
Designers have been showing Birkenstock- and Teva-inspired shoes on the runway for several seasons now, and certain fashion editors have even vowed to retire their heels completely. But some women may not have gotten the memo, if an increasingly popular procedure is any indication.
Plumping fillers—the same kind that doctors inject into the face to add volume back—can help high heel wearers who just can’t lay off the stilettos and have chronic foot pain as a result. According to Dr. Mitchell Chasin, the founder and medical director of Reflections Center for Skin and Body in New Jersey, requests for a so-called “stiletto lift” have increased over the last year.
Normally when you walk, your weight gets evenly distributed over the entire sole of the foot. But when you strap on a heel, suddenly that weight all comes down over the ball of the foot. “The ball of the foot has a pad of fat that’s a shock absorber between the bone and the outside world,” Dr. Chasin said. “As people wear high heels, that pad of fat gets pushed out of the way and what happens then is that bone doesn’t really have a cushion and it becomes irritated.” Your 125mm Louboutins then become torture devices as a result.
Dr. Chasin offers a procedure in which he injects a filler called Radiesse into the sole of the foot. Radiesse acts in two different ways to help restore volume and cushioning to the ball of the foot. In the weeks immediately following the injection, it forms a sort of lattice over the bone, which acts as a cushion. Then over the longer term, it actually stimulates your own body to create collagen, which further increases the cushioning. Dr. Chasin said that most women experience immediate relief after the injections.
But first, you have to get through the experience of having multiple injections in the bottom of your foot. A typical patient requires one to two syringes of the filler to treat the feet completely. Before Dr. Chasin injects them, he numbs the bottom of the feet first with a topical numbing cream, then with injectable lidocaine, a stronger numbing agent. He also mixes lidocaine into the filler syringes. Still sound horrifying? “People have so much pain there to begin with that sometimes the lidocaine is a relief,” Dr. Chasin countered.
While the “stiletto lift” has been around for about five years, Dr. Chasin has been seeing an increase in requests for it over the last six to 10 months. He currently does about 10 of them per month. The cost varies from $750 to $1,500 depending how many syringes of filler the woman requires, and results generally last for about a year. Professional women between the ages of 35 and 45 make up the bulk of those requesting the procedure. “We also get people who are going out more, who are dancing, who are more active socially. They’re active professionals,” Dr. Chasin said.
But getting the injections doesn’t mean you should run around in six-inchers everyday. “Use heels in moderation and not all the time,” Dr. Chasin advised. “That’s what got you there in the first place.” He also said that the skinniness of the heel matters as much or more than the height. So try to opt for chunkier heels and save the pin-thin stilettos for special occasions. “The answer isn’t to fill it and continue to abuse it,” he said.
But do the women he treats actually take this advice? “Not at all! They’re like, ‘Okay!’ then they come in to see me while wearing their heels,” Dr. Chasin laughed. “We can only try, right?”