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    Crocs: Healthy Shoes or Just Comfy?

    Do those eye-catching shoes have a place in good foot care? Doctors and consumers share their views.
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    WebMD Feature

    Crocs -- those clog-like shoes in bright colors -- might not match everyone's idea of fashion, but fans swear by their comfort. And Croc lovers say they bring health benefits to the two extremities that carry us all to the places we go.

    Are Crocs really good for our feet? WebMD got some feedback from doctors, consumers, and the shoe's creators.

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    Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.

    Here's some helpful information:

    A History of the Croc

    Born in 2002, the shoe was initially intended as footwear for boating, with its nonslip tread and waterproof tendencies.

    "The product was originally produced in Canada in clog-form," says co-founder Lyndon V. Hanson, III, vice president of Crocs. "We added a strap for utility, and gave it some flair."

    Crocs are certified by the U.S. Ergonomics Council and the American Podiatric Medical Association. Hanson says that what Crocs lack in aesthetic value, they make up in therapeutic benefits. The company created what it calls an Rx line of models specifically with healthy feet in mind: Croc Relief, Croc Cloud, and Croc Silver Cloud.

    "These shoes were designed specifically to eliminate plantar pain and achy feet," says Hanson. "They also help people with injured feet, bunionsbunions, and diabetesdiabetes. You've got a lot of inner support, heel cups and massaging heel nubs, and arch support. They're ideal for people with foot problems."

    Crocs in the Clinic

    Some doctors are even recommending them to patients with foot problems.

    "These shoes are especially light," says Harold Glickman, DPM, former president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). "They have huge room in the toe that affords the front part of the foot lots of room, especially for people with bone deformities like bunions and hammer toe. With the Rx Crocs, they're lined with antibacterial material that will prevent fungal and bacterial infections."

    For people with diabetes, Crocs offer added value in the protection they provide. Because people with diabetes have reduced circulation in their feet, Glickman says, they're at higher risk for open sores and wound infection. The spare room and antibacterial properties of Crocs help combat these problems.

    "I do not have stock in the company or work for the company, but I recommend them to patients all the time, and I wear them all the time," Glickman tells WebMD. "I wear them when I'm operating for three or four hours at a time and I get the sense I'm standing on water -- no leg pain, no back painback pain, and no arch pain."

    When the temperature starts to rise and flip-flops abound, Glickman also recommends trying Crocs instead.

    "Crocs offer more protection for your feet than flip-flops," says Glickman. "Flip-flops don't provide a lot of arch support; they're open-toed so you can stub your toe and hurt yourself. Crocs offer more protection and comfort than that."

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