The Ug­gly truth – top sur­geon says Ugg boots can ruin women’s knees

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT - By Stephen Adams

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

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