Um, According to Social Media, “Calf Tox” Is Now a Thing
Have you ever tried to slip on a pair of knee-high boots only to realize your calves are just a smidge too big to fit? Or have you struggled to put on a pair of 100 percent cotton skinny jeans despite them being in your size? Well, I have, and let me just say, it sucks. I had come to the conclusion that wide-calf boots and flare jeans would forever be in my life until I came across a potential solution on TikTok: Botox injections in the calf muscle.
Botulinum toxin type A, more commonly known as Botox, is FDA-approved for treating fine lines and wrinkles, but there are other uses for it. For example, “trap tox,” which involves getting Botox injected into your trapezius muscles for either aesthetic reasons or to eliminate pain, recently went viral on TikTok. And now, “calf tox” is trending.
Ahead, experts break down everything to know about calf tox, like whether or not it’s safe and who is a good candidate for the treatment.
What Is Calf Botox?
“Calf tox is an off-label use of Botox where it is injected into the calves for a slimming effect,” Carol Eisenstat, MD, board-certified physician and founder of Line Eraser MD, tells POPSUGAR. The treatment can temporarily slim down the circumference and bulk of the calf muscles, which offers a leaner, more contoured look (and should allow your legs to fit into your boots more easily).
So, how exactly does it work? “By directly preventing the communication between the nerve cells and muscle, Botox decreases the muscle contractions, which gradually narrows the circumference of the calves,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. Essentially, it temporarily paralyzes the muscle so it can’t fully contract, causing it to decrease in size gradually. The procedure is quick and noninvasive, and Dr. Engelman says the results can last up to four months.
However, Dr. Eisenstat notes that the results are gradual and temporary, and each patient may require a different dose to achieve their desired result.
Who Is a Good Candidate For Calf Botox?
“Individuals who are looking to improve the appearance of their lower legs and do not want to pursue a surgical approach are good candidates for calf Botox,” Dr. Engelman says. She also notes that those who have muscle hypertrophy or have genetically developed bulky calf muscles are also good candidates.
Calf Botox Side Effects
Dr. Engelman notes that the procedure is generally safe and there are no serious or long-term side effects. However, Dr. Eisenstat says that temporary paralysis of the calf muscle may affect its functionality.
“Potential temporary side effects can include redness, mild bruising, soreness or tenderness, or difficulty ambulating,” Dr. Engelman says. To lower your risk of side effects, Dr. Engelman and Dr. Eisenstat both recommend visiting a doctor who is board-certified and experienced in this specific treatment.