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By David Wilkes

IN the quest
to achieve the perfect statuesque look, a worrying craze is hot-foot-ing it over the Atlantic.

Women are turning to cosmetic surgery on their tootsies in the U.S. just so that they can cram their feet into the latest designer heels.

The trend, inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker tottering across television screens as Manolo Blahnik-loving Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, has led to more and more ladies in Los Angeles having foot surgery - often purely for appearance's sake.

The Beverly Hills Aesthetic Foot Surgery in Studio City, California, is among those providing an array of operations, including its trademarked 'Cinderella procedure' - a preventive bunion correction that makes feet narrower.

Maybe that would appeal to the likes of Victoria Beckham and Kate Beckinsale, who have both battled bunions. The clinic -which boasts movie stars, models and athletes as clients - also offers the 'Perfect 10! Aesthetic toe shortening' operation.

This apparently trims toes which hang over the end of sandals or have to be crushed into tight shoes.

There's also 'Foot-tuck fat pad augmentation' in which fat from the patient's abdomen is injected into the balls of her feet to provide extra cushioning for long days on high heels.

The clinic's founder, podiatrist Ali Sadrieh, told the Wall Street Journal: 'It's unrealistic to tell women not to wear high heels.  I came up with procedures that allow the women to function, pain-free, in the real world.'

The clinic also offers toe lengthening and toe straightening, as well as a procedure called hyper-hidrosis in which Botox, which can curb excess sweating, is injected into the feet to prevent fungal growth.

The jab temporarily paralyses muscles with a mild dose of toxin.  In the face this eliminates wrinkles.

But if injected into hands, feet or armpits, it freezes glands to stop them reacting to heat.

Podiatrists across the U.S. say business is booming, despite warnings from orthopedic surgeons that procedures should only be done to alleviate pain and deformities.

More British women are also requesting toe and ankle correction procedures, as well as Botox injections to the balls of the feet, according to the
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Mike Paynton, chairman of the
British Chiropody and Podiatry Association, warned against cosmetic surgery on feet.

'The foot is a complicated structure and you cannot alter one part of it without throwing another out,' he said.

British women are said to spend £29million a year fixing medical problems such as bunions, corns and trapped nerves caused by high heels.

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