Toning Shoe Injuries in the Elderly

We have noted on this blog that toning shoe injuries have become a major problem for the elderly – many of whom have fallen prey to what many consider to have been fraudulent advertising practices. The Federal Trade Commission has charged Sketchers with making false claims about the benefits of these shoes and the company has set up a $40 million fund to refund consumers who have been swindled by these practices. Click here to read more.  

More importantly, many folks have been seriously injured simply by wearing these shoes. We are seeing stress fractures, tendon injuries and falls, especially for elderly consumers, who have suffered broken hips and other injuries after attempting to balance themselves on these round bottomed shoes.

People who have been injured have recourses available and should explore their rights against companies who profit off of innocent consumers with claims that clearly were not medically founded.

We have written in this blog in the past about the significant dangers of toner shoes.  These shoes, marketed by many different companies, can potentially cause various injuries to innocent consumers.  These shoes are marketed as allowing consumers to obtain significant health and orthopaedic benefits simply by wearing the shoes, without the need of any additional effort.   There are now significant, well-documented questions being raised about the so-called science behind these shoes.   While the benefits claimed by the simple act of wearing toner shoes seem quite unlikely, many consumers find themselves taken by the highly priced advertisements of these large companies. Beyond injuries that we have seen in our elderly population, we are now seeing young and middle aged individuals suffer unexplained stress fractures, which many experts believe are being caused by simply wearing these shoes.  This is a very unfortunate situation and may, in fact, have been caused by the misleading advertisements from many large companies.

Although a bit off-topic compared to what we normally discuss in this blog, I have become increasingly concerned about the profit-driven risks posed to the elderly by what have become known as "toner" shoes.  Multiple major sneaker companies have begun marketing  "toner" sneakers that provide little or no support  to the foot or legs – with the spurious claim that that same lack of support somehow replaces the need for exercise.  In other words, they claim that by wearing shoes that require the use of extraordinary effort simply to stand up or walk, consumers will be toned.
Most studies suggest that this is simply not the case.  More importantly, though, unsuspecting consumers are getting badly injured.  Some have suffered broken bones, while others have fallen and suffered significant brain injuries.  The cause for these injuries is two-fold:
In the first instance, the shoes simply do not provide the support that people need to get around.  Thus, they fall…often with major injuries.  This risk is most pronounced in the old and the frail.  Sadly, these are the folks to whom large corporations directly market their claims.
The second category involves repetitive stress injuries.  People wearing these shoes can place an unnatural burden on their bones when their gait is altered.  Over time, simply wearing the shoes has been alleged to have caused multiple fractures in the consumer – even those who are young.  Obviously, the risk is greater for older people with more brittle bones.
Here’s an article by a very concerned physician, outlining the problem.
In the end, this is all about big business.  It is the fastest growing segment of the shoe industry – well in excess of a billion dollars a year.  Some have noted that with that kind of money involved, the injuries suffered along the way may very well simply be considered a cost of doing business – reminiscent of Ford’s decision to save money on the Ford Pinto and the multiple lives lost because of that decision.