Putting Your Best Foot Forward continued...
"Before strappy sandals, people didn't reveal their feet as much, and now there is an awareness about the aesthetic appearance of the foot," says Stuart J. Mogul, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in New York and author of Perfect Feet.
"From a strictly cosmetic standpoint, one of the things that we do are surgical corrections of hammer toes and toes with corns or bunions," Mogul says. Other sandal-worthy operations include shortening the second toe, which if it sticks out enough, can make it difficult to fit into shoes. "The results can be pretty dramatic," he says. "There is a dual benefit to most of these surgeries as surgery relieves pain but leaves a foot without corns, and toes look more normal."
What's more, some foot doctors are using collagen and fat injections to build up cushioning on the foot. But "this is temporary and displaced with weight bearing," he says. "I don't think it's an effective treatment."
The Heat Is On
Many women are concerned about the appearance of varicose and spider veins on their legs. The good news is that a new procedure can help banish unsightly varicose veins. Called Closure, a doctor first uses ultrasound to map the vein, then numbs the area with local anesthesia. The doctor then nicks the skin behind the knee and threads a small tube into the vein. Using ultrasound, the doctor guides the tip of the tube until it reaches the point near the groin where the saphenous vein starts. The saphenous vein, which runs along the thigh, is one of the major veins of the leg. Then, a tiny, heated probe is threaded through the tube, shrinking the inner walls of the vein until it collapses. Once the diseased vein is shut, other healthy veins take over its job. "The majority of veins disappear within a month," Ostad says.
Traditionally, varicose veins have been removed with surgery. The surgery may involve tying off the saphenous vein, then partially or completely removing its branches, a procedure known as vein stripping. This type of surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, and the patient must rest the leg for about a week afterward. Another option for varicose vein removal is called sclerotherapy, or injection therapy. In this procedure, a solution is injected into the vein to force it to clot. Unlike with the new heat therapy, varicose veins often return after sclerotherapy.