'Mobility shoes' lets knee osteoarthritis sufferers walk away from pain

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 11, 2013 11:10 hrs

A simple pair of flat, flexible footwear (mobility shoes) could help patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) walk better, a study has found.

Experts said tests showed the footwear significantly reduced knee loading - the force placed on the joint during daily activities.

Dr. Najia Shakoor and colleagues from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois recruited 16 participants with knee OA, obtaining a baseline gait with participants walking in their own shoes, mobility shoes, and barefoot. Participants wore the mobility shoes for six hours each day for six days per week and patient gait was evaluated at 6, 12, and 24 weeks in all conditions.

Findings suggest that by 24 weeks participants wearing mobility footwear saw an 18 percent reduction in knee adduction moment (KAM)-the load on the inner or medial aspect of the knee when walking (where most people develop knee OA) compared to baseline knee loading in their own footwear.

No significant difference in KAM was found between walking with mobility shoes and barefoot. Compared to baseline, analyses indicate an 11 percent and 10 percent reduction in KAM for OA patients walking in their own shoes and barefoot, respectively, suggesting the mobility shoes may have "re-trained" participant's gait.

"Patients with OA who use flat, flexible footwear may experience a significant reduction in knee loading with continued use," concludes Dr. Shakoor. "Our investigation provides evidence that footwear choice may be an important consideration in managing knee OA."

The study has been published in Arthritis and Rheumatism. (ANI)

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