Back hurting more than normal in the cooler weather? Your favorite fuzzy winter boots may be the culprit.
For so many of us, the arrival of cooler weather means one thing: breaking out the fuzzy boots. Those cozy footwear are so popular that people shell out more than $100 (in some cases, well more) for a pair. But for those who swear by them, $100 may just be the beginning. Your body may also be paying a price in the form of chronic back pain and problems affecting various other parts of the body.
“UGGs can be ugly to your feet and ankles, causing pain and throwing your walk out of whack so problems extend to the knees, hips and back,” said NBC News. “The plush lining also can create an ideal breeding ground for foot fungus.”
And it’s not just Americans who love to wear the popular boots; their popularity prompted “a new wave of criticism by health experts in the United Kingdom, who say that the furry footwear—and its many cheap knockoffs —are “harming the feet of a generation of young women,” according to the Mirror,” said the New York Daily News.
So what can you do if you just aren’t willing to give them up?
Limit the wearing time
Wear your boots when you know you’ll be doing a lot of sitting, not a lot of walking. That way, you can enjoy the comfort without risking doing damage to your back and other parts of your body. “The bulky, hobbit-looking boots are so comfy-cozy that fans rarely take them off, but they weren’t actually made for long-distance walking,” said NBC News.
The problem is that sheepskin boots are not performance footwear, and they mostly lack sufficient arch support. So while they may feel comfortable, that comfort can be deceiving. Long-term wearing of these boots can lead to foot and ankle injuries, as well as skin infections like athlete’s foot and dermatitis if socks are not worn. And those hip and back pains you’ve experiencing? You might have your boots to blame for those, too.
Replace the insoles
Replacing the insoles in your existing boots with something that has arch support can help offset some of the negatives of wearing them, and they’re readily available online, at a supermarket, drug store, Target, or Walmart. A custom orthotic is even better because it’s fitted to your specific feet. To have one made, you can call a podiatrist or find a Dr. Scholl’s Footmapping Kiosk near you.
Buy a tighter-fitting pair of boots
The most popular types of the the winter wear are pull-ons with no laces, zippers, or straps to provide support. The loose fit is what helps make them comfy, but it could also be hurting you. Because the boot isn’t tight, your foot slides around with every step you take. That slide creates problems with your gait, often referred to by doctors as the “Ugg shuffle.” This shuffle puts increased pressure on the inside of the foot, which then makes the foot splay, leading to back strain as well as strain on the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
Looking for a boot with a more fitted structure, especially one that is better molded to the foot and has a zipper or straps that can make it tighter, may help alleviate this issue.
Buy a pair with some built-in arch support
Newer versions of Ugg boots and similar boots have a heel, which could give you the support you lack in your flat boots.
When it’s time to see a doctor
Whether you’re dealing with back issues from chronic Ugg wearing or from another cause, you might find yourself in need of treatment for back pain at some point. It’s important to find a leading back doctor who is skilled in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques. The good news for those suffering from chronic pain is recent mean treating chronic back pain is easier than ever, with outpatient treatments, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.
For more information, contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments for chronic back pain, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain.