Were your boots made for walking?

April 10, 2009 4:39:22 PM PDT
Were your boots really made for walking? If they're Ugg-style boots, it turns out the answer may be no. They may feel incredibly comfortable, but they could be causing you serious pain in the long run.

People who have them love them. The boot with suede outside and sheepskin inside is a footwear craze. It's a celebrity must-have and a favorite among young and old. And even during these tough economic times, Ugg Australia sales are up. And knockoffs are everywhere.

"They're just simply comfortable, they're like wearing slippers," one Ugg-wearer said. "I love my Ugg boots!"

But despite their popularity, podiatrists warn Ugg lovers to watch their step.

"It may feel cushiony, it may feel comfortable, but it doesn't mean they're getting the necessary arch support that a foot needs to function effectively," said Dr. Rock Positano, of the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Dr. Positano says arch support is important for helping the foot to absorb shock. Lack of support in your shoe means trouble for your foot.

"What that leads to is overuse, meaning the muscles, the tendons, the ligaments and the bones in the foot and the ankle overwork," Dr. Positano said. "A recent study just came out that showed the correlation between a flat arch and problems with the knee, the hip and the back."

And sadly this means the beloved flip-flop is out too. For the faithful Ugg boot lovers, this news is hard to believe.

"I don't agree with that, from my point of view," one woman said.

So what should you be wearing?

"The types of shoes that are best are usually a semi-rigid shoe that's not too flexible, that has a small heel," Dr. Positano said. "Mechanically, that makes the foot and the ankle work not nearly as hard as it normally would."

If you're worried about your feet, you don't have to give up your Ugg-style boots forever. Dr Positano suggests getting a foot insert - over the counter or prescription - to add arch support to the boots.

"We try to tell our patients that Uggs are okay to wear in a social situation," Dr. Positano said. "But to go out for a long walk or a hike or recreational activities, it's not a good idea."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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