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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Ugly Truth About “Uggs”

In Australia where they were invented, “Ugg Boot” appears in the dictionary with a little footnote: “Derivation: ugly”. Is there any less feminine way to finish off an outfit? In addition to their clunky, sloppy looks, they are just about the worst things you could wear on a day to day basis for walking. We have all seen the girls walking through the mall with their Ugg boots on, their feet practically collapsing into themselves. The rubber is usually worn down completely on both heels and they are dirty as sin. All of us are guilty of buying the latest and the greatest names and what’s the most popular thing to own. In the case of Ugg boots, not only do they come with a high price tag, they also come with a price for your delicate feet to pay.

Ask any Ugg owner what makes her boots so special and you will hear the same words over and over again. “They’re comfy, they’re warm, and they feel so lovely on my feet.” These are the same words you’ll hear from your grandfather after he slips on his new pair of slippers he just picked up at the dollar store. “I am an absolute believer in the the Ugg boot. I don’t use them for the impact or the style, it’s because they are so comfortable and warm”, says Katie Melville, 25, who works for an advertising agency and is now on her 5th pair. Her friend Lexy, a trainee chef, has also been won over by how “practical and comfortable they are”.

Apart from the notion women are supposed to suffer for their fashion (That’s why God invented stilettos), let’s examine the comfort of the things. They may be warm but they sure are not waterproof. “I wore them in the snow last year,” says Lexy. “My feet were soaking and it was a nightmare!” She also admits if it’s not below freezing, her feet are actually “too hot”. Meanwhile Katie says: “On the box it says you should wear them without socks. But if you do they are really quite smelly.” The reason why the Australian manufacturers recommend you don’t wear socks is because Down Under the Ugg boot is NOT worn outdoors. (Hence the lack of waterproofing.)

It was when the Ugg boot arrived in America in 2000 when Oprah Winfrey spent $50,000 buying pairs for her staff of 350 and included them on her Oprah’s Favorite Things show- that it occurred to anyone to wear them in a place where strangers might see them. The fact the Vogue magazine went mad for them- as did Kate Moss- probably explains why they took off so quickly.

What people do not quite understand is that just because Uggs are not stilettos, they absolutely come with their own set of dangers. For one thing, they provide absolutely no support. They do not have a firm heel counter to prevent inversion or eversion. The sole is made of very soft material and does not hold the foot in position during gate. The lack of support can also cause lowering of the arch which can cause tendon strain. In addition, the warm interior is a perfect place for bacteria to breed and spread to your toes and toenails like wildfire, especially if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself submerged in water or a foot of snow.

So next time you’re in Norstrom’s and your considering dropping 2 bills on a pair of Ugg boots you may want to consider the long term affects of your purchase . If the name and style really means that much to you, save them for inside the house.

Monday, January 16, 2012

High Heel Shoes Are Bad News!

Did you know that approximately 3.5 billion dollars are spent each year in the United States for women’s foot surgery? In addition to that enormous cost, the female workforce misses 15 million work days each year because of foot injuries and surgeries. WOW! The BIGGEST culprit in this figure is the high heel shoe. It’s no secret that a high heel shoe can look sexy and stylish, and we are all guilty of wearing them, but what women don’t realize is the long term health consequences they come with. Unlike sore feet, things like bunions and osteoarthritis do not go away over night, and that’s exactly the type of foot problems our 4 inch stilettos come with.

High heels shift your center of gravity forward so that your hips and spine are pushed out of alignment. Altered posture caused by wearing high heels leads to increased pressure on the inside of the knee. Repeated stress in this area dramatically increases the chances of developing osteoarthritis. If you’re in the habit of wearing high heels regularly the Achilles tendon will start to shorten over time. A short, tight Achilles tendon increases the risk of injuries such as Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. The heel elevation also causes the calf muscle to contract. If heels are worn consistently, calf muscles can become short and weak, which promotes injury. The combination of cramped toe boxes and the downward angle of the high heel can cause foot deformities and injuries including bunions, hammertoes, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis. Yikes!

If you MUST have your high heels, consider styles that will reduce risk of injury or foot deformities. Get a shoe with a rubber sole instead of leather. They offer extra flexibility and increase your grip on the floor. Also, try to choose a shoe with a wider heel. While it won’t help much to alleviate the stress on your knees, at least you will have a wider base to stand on which will distribute your weight more evenly than a stiletto would. The highest your heels should be is 2 inches. Less is even better, but 2 inches should be your limit. These shoes will give you enough lift to show off your legs and reduce the risk of foot injuries and deformities.

Platforms are a great way to create the illusion of height without all the risk. Because the forefoot is elevated as well, you don’t have such an incline forcing the foot into a very uncomfortable position. Choose heels that allow your toes to lay flat in the shoe such as a round or square toe box. Lastly, only purchase heels that have a thumbs-width of space from the longest toe to the end of the shoe when you are standing.Link

Friday, August 12, 2011

Murder by Stiletto - Shame by Shoe Size

I’ve written about women shoe obsessions on several occasions, but I just cannot resist commenting on the latest news feeds pertaining to women and their shoes.
Believe it or not, the woman with the largest collection of shoes is not the infamous shoe lover, Victoria Beckham. It is of all people, a poker pro. Beth Shark is world class poker player and proud owner of 1,200 pairs of shoes. Not just any kind of shoes either, but rather revolving closets of high end designers such as Jimmy Choo, YSL, and Louboutin. Shark will be featured in a documentary on women and shoes, “God Save My Shoes,” that will premier during Fashion Week. The documentary not only exposes famous shoe lovers but also investigates the psychology behind obsessive shoe buying. Spoiler alert: they may have found a connection between shoes and sex. Some go as far to say that the foot analogous to the penis!!!. I am very interested to see how they explain that connection!

Some women have hundreds of shoes, but some only need one. A woman in Georgia was arrested for allegedly killing her boyfriend with a stiletto heel during a domestic dispute. The autopsy report has not been received but officials are confident that is was a blow to the head with the spike of a high heel that lead to the man’s death. Conceal and carry…. Why would you when you can defend yourself with fashionable footwear?

What could be worse than being attacked by a cute shoe but being attacked by a size 9! Online shoe sales are higher than ever and women’s feet are growing. Women with large feet are so ashamed of their foot size that they have a higher tendency to buy behind the computer. Reports are showing that the demand for size 9 has increased over 80% and 82% of Women who wear size 8 and 9 say they are embarrassed by their shoe size. 67% of all size 9 shoes are bought online and 47% of women admit they lie to partners and friends about their shoe size. What is going on here? The average female shoe size has increased 1.5 sizes in the last 10 years and many researchers are attributing this to the increase in size of American women. That hamburger is going straight to your feet!!!

All in today’s news: Shoes linked to hoarders, penises, murder, shame, and weight gain. Today in my office I didn’t have quite this display of shoe predicaments but I did find shoes linked to both pain and pain relief. Maybe what we put on our feet is more than just shoes. It is fashion, passion, revenge, dignity, humility, therapy, and of course….priceless.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Certified Pedorthist Ends Foot Pain.wmv


A Romanian man, known as the “shoe architect” has created a line of stilettos that will increase a women’s height by twelve inches! Mihai Albu claims his shoes are distinctly appealing to most women since many do not have long legs. The shoes are miraculous sculptress of beauty. With feathers and jewels, skull heads and curves, he has created masterpieces for fashion. Not only are these shoe eye catching, they are also wallet drying! A pair of Mihai Albu’s shoes cost over $1,500. That is a lot of money, for something I would never put on my feet!

Yes, these shoes are beautiful and truly a piece of art, but probably the most ridiculous thing you could put on your feet. We would all like to be a little taller, but at what expense? Not only will these shoes hurt the pocketbook, they will also hurt the foot and ankle and all other body parts that hit floor after an easy accident in these towering skyscraper shoes.

Have you ever sprained your ankle? The first reason to not wear these shoes is an ankle sprain. After an ankle sprain or other similar injuries, your ligaments get damaged and weakened. Your ankle is inevitably less stable and you are prone to more injuries in the future. Not really a good idea to jump into intensely tall shoes that gives you zero protection to the ankle and makes you quite unstable. I would give you two hours in these shoes before you injured yourself, and I am being generous!

Do the balls of your feet ever hurt? Your foot is not designed to walk only on the balls of your feet and your toes. This week, I removed a fractured bone from women in her 20s. She injured her sesamoid bone, a small bone near your big toe. The injury occurred while dancing in high heels all night at a wedding. She unfortunately could not heal the bone and it had to be removed. Stress fractures are also common. To heal these types of fractures, surgery is usually not necessary. The area will need to be immobile in a surgical boot or cast. A severely unattractive and cumbersome device that has to be worn in replace of your cute high heels.

High heels are attractive and fashionable. I understand why women love to buy them and wear them. Many of them are truly pieces of art, but some should just be art. Not all shoe skyscrapers should be worn. Many should be admired from the store window or from the box. As soon as they hit the feet, they are disastrous. Be sensible.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Kelly Ripa’s Charity is a Podiatrists Nightmare

Many know Kelly Ripa for her days in daytime drama starring on the legendary soap opera All My Children. She fell into superstardom when she hit the talk show host scene on Regis and Kelly. Now Kelly is turning heads while racing through central park in high heels!!! In an annual charity event sponsored by Regis and Kelly and, Kelly and many other women raced in high heels. The event was to raise awareness and money for women’s heart heath and The Heart Truth, a national campaign combating women’s heart disease. I am all about raising money for good causes, but in 3 inch stilettos? Running in high heels is near insanity.

Running shoes are designed specifically to absorb the impact of running and accommodating the foot forces on the terrain. When running, your feet take on an impact of forces that is three times greater than your weight. Athletic shoes are made out of shock absorbing materials that help reduce the amount force that gets transmitted through your knees and back.

There is a growing culture of runners who are ditching shoes all together and going barefoot. Some small studies have been done looking at the biomechanics of this naked foot running, but most results have been inconclusive. The current belief is that when running barefoot, you change your running style and run more on your toes than your heel. This promotes a softer step and less impact is transmitted through your body. It is also noted that you must have a healthy, rectus foot for barefoot running to be beneficial. Unfortunately, most Americans do not have a healthy foot structure.

So if running on your toes causes less impact and high heels force you to bear all of your weight on your toes, shouldn’t stiletto racing be to our benefit? In high heels, your foot doesn’t have any control. You are still confined to the narrow space of tight shoe. It is also difficult to clear the heel from hitting the ground. The distinct style of barefoot running that causes less impact on the body takes many months of training and foot strengthening. I cannot find any correlation between the benefits of forefoot running, or barefoot running and high heel running.

Nail avulsion or damage, blisters, lacerations, sprains, and fractures are only a few injuries that will dominate a stiletto race. I think it would be easier to run to the ATM in sneakers. I’ll happily donate to the cause, but you won’t be catching me in red high heels, especially since I am not that kind of guy. It is very commendable for these women to stand up to women’s heart disease and I am inspired by their strength and daring attitude. Hopefully they all survived the race with healthy feet and hearts full of joy. Kelly Ripa always keeps us on our toe! If you have an inspiring way to raise awareness of heart disease, visit