The Uggly truth – top surgeon says Ugg boots can ruin women’s knees
THEY are the fashionable sheepskin boots adored by celebrities such as Pippa O’Connor and Myleene Klass.
But Ugg-type footwear may be putting women at risk of serious knee problems that could require surgery, according to a leading doctor.
Orthopaedic surgeon Ian McDermott said the boots could cause a ‘knock-kneed’ stance and lead to premature wear and tear of the joint because they offer too little foot support. This triggers a poor stance, affecting the intricate set-up of the knee – and if it is left long enough, it can lead to cartilage damage. Mr McDermott, a consultant at the private London Bridge Hospital in London, said: ‘If you have a tendency to drift into a bad posture and you wear a pair of floppy, unsupported boots, then the heel tends to slip off the inside of the boot and the foot becomes twisted outwards and flattened.’
This causes a knock-on effect up the leg, as the main lower leg bone, the tibia, rotates outwards, resulting in a ‘knockkneed posture’. More weight ends on the outside of the knee, and more strain is put on the inside, leading to a misalignment of the kneecap, he said.
Problems can usually be sorted out by a physiotherapist or a gait expert but Mr McDermott warned that surgery might be the only option for serious cases.
‘If you have severe cartilage damage at the front of their knee, and the patella is misaligned, you might have to realign the patella,’ he said. ‘If the cartilage damage is severe you might have to do cartilage transplantation or, for older patients with an even more severely damaged knee, you might need to do a partial knee replacement.’
Mr McDermott urged teenage girls to take particular care as a significant proportion of them tend to be a little knock-kneed – and favour Ugg-type boots.
‘Sheepskin boots may look great but vanity may come at the cost of potential physical damage to your body,’ he said, adding that he was not targeting Ugg specifically.
‘My gripe is not with Ugg – it’s with any soft boot that doesn’t give your foot proper support. It’s not a brand issue. I think the worst boots are the cheap copycats.
‘Although they can seem like the first choice for comfort this winter, opt for a sturdy pair of boots with correct arch support.’
An Ugg spokesman said its latest boots offered ‘added innovative enhancements’ to improve comfort and stability.
‘Worst cases may need a knee replacement’
Risky: Myleene Klass is a fan of the boots