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Experts debate dangers of wearing popular sheepskin boots

yahoo.com—March 17, 2010

Despite the fact that Uggs and their many knockoff incarnations have long been considered a “fashion don’t,” lots of women love and continue to wear these suede and sheepskin boots all winter long. They’re warm, they’re cozy, they’re easy to throw on with any outfit, they feel like slippers, and they’re a celebrity favorite. Of course this makes the boots very appealing and popular, especially during chillier months. But are they actually good for your feet? Experts say no.

In a recent Daily Mail article, professionals spoke out about the health risks of wearing cheap, imitation Ugg boots. But does the Ugg boot, which retails for $140 and up, really provide more support than its more affordable imitators? Dr. Rock Positano, Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Service for the Hospital for Special Surgery, sees no difference. “Whether they are real Uggs or fake Uggs, we’re dealing with footwear that offers no substantial and necessary orthopedic support for the foot and the ankle.” He has many clients come to him with complications from wearing Uggs and pseudo-Uggs.

Dr. Positano is anti-Ugg across the board. “Whether you have a high arch, or a flat arch, inherently there are issues. You have the support issue under the foot, and the fact that there’s no support around the ankle joint or the Achilles tendon,” says Dr. Positano. And when it comes to affecting children, young ladies, or mature women, he insists, “This type of shoe does not discriminate.”

As the boots place stress on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones, everyday use can cause long-term problems for wearers like bunions, hammertoes, arthritis, tendinitis, and issues with their Achilles tendon, knees, hips and lower back. “Most people don’t develop the symptoms until the day after,” says Dr. Positano. “When you’re walking in them, they’re comfortable.” So should women stop wearing Uggs and Ugg knockoffs if they experience discomfort? “It’s probably a prudent idea,” says Dr. Positano, “because nine out of ten times these issues are caused by improper or inadequate foot and ankle support.”

They key is to use your sheepskin boots sparingly or when you know you won’t be doing extensive walking or activity. For casual wearers who are looking to reinforce their boots for safety, the doctors say that adding supportive insoles would be a great first step.

This article originally appeared at yahoo.com.


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