March 1st, 2011
By: Deborah Dunham
Skechers Shape-up shoes claim they can tone your legs, but one woman is saying they injured hers.
Ohio resident Holly Ward has filed a lawsuit against the company stating that she developed stress fractures in both hips as a result of wearing the shoes.
Ward said that she wore the toning shoes during her job as a waitress and, after five months, developed severe pain in her hips. According to the lawsuit, the 38-year-old had no previous injuries and had a healthy bone density of a young woman, thereby alleging that the shoes were the culprits of her stress fractures.
The Shape-ups are a part of the company’s more than 3,000 styles of shoes. Their technology includes a soft kinetic wedge insert and rolling bottom to simulate walking on soft sand. There are different variations of the Shape-ups, including those made for walkers, runners, hikers and gym goers.
There is also a “for-work” Shape-up shoe, which the company’s website states is “perfect for industry professionals who want to get in shape while on the job.” These shoes are advertised to help reduce joint stress (among other things like burning calories, tightening abdominals and strengthening the back), which is the very nature of Ward’s injuries and resulting lawsuit.
“We do not know of any testing or safety studies that Skechers did to determine safety,” Ward’s attorney, Ronald Johnson, told ABC news. “If they’re going to invent a whole new way for a human being to walk, the very first thing they should do is studies to make sure that’s not going to harm their customers.”
Ward, who is now in physical therapy for her injuries and has pins in her hips due to the injuries, told “Good Morning America,” “The extended use of these shoes has injured me catastrophically.”
Ward added, “The femoral bone is the strongest bone in the human body, and I fractured not one but two of them without being in a car crash or any traumatic incident.”
The hype for Shape-ups began in 2009 when the shoes were introduced. Since then, Kim Kardashian and her mother, Kris Jenner, have been named the new faces of the brand with a campaign called “Shaping Up With the Kardashians.” Yet even with the media hype, there has been repeated controversy over whether the toning shoes do indeed work.
The thing that everyone can agree on is that Shape-ups alter your natural foot pattern and the way you walk. In fact, there is little supporting data that any of the toning shoes on the market really work, and orthopedics, in particular, have remained skeptical about their benefits.
Ward’s lawyer said he has heard from more people with fractures and reports quoting doctors who say they’ve seen other injuries like strained Achilles tendons and falls because people lost their balance in the shoes.
Meanwhile, Skechers stands by its shoes, stating “millions of people wear Shape-ups without experiencing what Ms. Ward alleges.”
February 25th, 2011
By: Ronnie Koenig
Drugs intended to fight osteoporosis may actually be causing what they’re designed to prevent: bone fractures. According to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, drugs known as bisphosphonates, which are frequently taken by women to fight osteoporosis, have been associated with an increase in unusual fractures in the thigh bone. Women who took these drugs for five years or more may be at greater risk for these types of fractures.
“We weren’t able to study the cause of the thigh bone fractures, but we did find an association with increased risk among those who took the drugs over a long period,” lead study author Laura Park-Wyllie, a pharmaceutical safety and outcomes researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, told AOL Health.
Park-Wyllie says the research was undertaken because of the increasing reports of thigh bone fractures among older women who take Fosamax, Actonel or Didrocal. The study authors found that women who took bisphosphonates were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from what are known as “atypical” or “unusual” fractures located below the hip, in the middle of the femur or thigh bone.
Overall, the researchers looked at 205,466 women over age 68 who had been prescribed bisphosphonates between 2002 and 2008. Of those women, only 716 (0.35 percent) had a fracture of the femur. Since the overall risk of thigh fractures is low, and because the drugs do prevent hip fractures, he researchers encourage women to continue taking their prescriptions.
“Our study provides strong evidence that there is an association, but I wouldn’t want women who are at high [osteoporosis] risk to worry about taking their drugs,” Park-Wyllie said. “The risks of a thigh fracture are still low — for women who were on the drugs for 5 years or more, it was 1 in 1000.”
Dr. Diane L Schneider, author of “The Complete Book of Bone Health,” says that many people who eventually suffer from these atypical fractures get a warning sign in the form of pain. “For a majority of people, pain proceeds these fractures,” she told AOL Health. “Some people say they had pain in their thigh for over a year. If you develop this type of pain, it’s important to consult with your doctor.”
Schneider says that the cause of the atypical fractures is still unknown, but that there could be a genetic predisposition. In the meantime, she believes that studies like this one are helpful because they bring more awareness to osteoporosis. “This should not scare people,” she says. “If you’re at low risk you could speak to your doctor about taking a ‘drug holiday’ or changing medications. But don’t just stop your medicine.”
Osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bones,” is a condition in which the bones become so weak and brittle that fractures are common. Even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause damage — most fractures occur in the wrists, spine or hips. Hip fractures are serious business and are a leading cause of disability in the elderly and can necessitate long-term care. In many individuals, a hip fracture can even lead to death, due to the extent that normal living is compromised by this type of injury. In fact, one in five women die within 12 months of a hip fracture.
Park-Wyllie says that although more research needs to be done, women who are not at high risk might consider talking to their doctors about reevaluating their medicines.