Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shoes: A treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees?

Date:
March 25, 2010
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
Flip-flops and sneakers with flexible soles are easier on the knees than clogs or even special walking shoes, a study has found. And that's important, because loading on the knee joints is a key factor in the development of osteoarthritis.

Flip-flops and sneakers with flexible soles are easier on the knees than clogs or even special walking shoes, a study by Rush University Medical Center has found. And that's important, because loading on the knee joints is a key factor in the development of osteoarthritis.

Related Articles


The study has been published online in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

"Traditionally, footwear has been engineered to provide maximum support and comfort for the foot, with little attention paid to the biomechanical effects on the rest of the leg," said Dr. Najia Shakoor, a rheumatologist at Rush and the primary author of the study. "But the shoes we wear have a substantial impact on the load on the knee joints, particularly when we walk."

"Our study demonstrated that flat, flexible footwear significantly reduces the load on the knee joints compared with supportive, stable shoes with less flexible soles."

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a significant source of disability and impaired quality of life. A higher-than-normal load on the knees during walking is a hallmark of the disease, associated with both the severity of osteoarthritis and its progression.

Shakoor and her colleagues analyzed the gait of 31 patients with symptoms of osteoarthritis in the Rush Motion Analysis Lab while they walked barefoot and with four popular shoe types: Dansko clogs, which are often worn by healthcare professionals who have to be on their feet much of the day; Brooks Addiction stability shoes, which are prescribed for foot comfort and stability; Puma H-Street shoes, a flat athletic shoe with flexible soles; and flip-flops.

The loads on the knee joints differed significantly depending on the footwear. For the clogs and stability shoes, the loads on the knee joints were up to 15 percent greater than with the flat walking shoes, flip-flops or barefoot walking. Knee loading was roughly the same whether the subject wore flips-flops or walked barefoot.

"Currently, knee braces and wedged orthotic shoe inserts are used to relieve the load on the knee joints of patients with osteoarthritis, but everyday footwear is also a factor to consider. The results in our study demonstrate that the reduction in load achieved with different footwear, from 11 to 15 percent, is certainly comparable to reduction in load with braces and shoe inserts ," Shakoor said.

According to Shakoor, several aspects of footwear affect the joint loading.

"Heel height is one factor, and may explain why the stability shoes and clogs in our study, both of which had higher heels, produced greater knee loads," Shakoor said.

"Stiffness is also a factor. We've shown in earlier studies that barefoot walking is associated with lower knee loads than walking with conventional footwear. It may be that the flexible movement of the bare foot is mechanically advantageous. The natural flex of the foot when it contacts the ground probably attenuates the impact on the joint, compared to the artificial 'stomping' movement created by a stiff-soled shoe."

In the present study, Shakoor said, flip-flops and the walking shoe were flat, flexible and lightweight and seemed to mimic the mechanics when walking with bare feet.

"Clogs and stability shoes, conventionally believed to provide appropriate cushioning and support, actually increased the loading on the knee joints, as opposed to shoes with less 'support,' flatter heels and more flexibility," Shakoor said.

Shakoor cautioned, however, that knee loading is not the only consideration in any clinical recommendations based on her study.

"For the elderly and infirm individuals, flip-flops could contribute to falls because of their loose-fitting design. Factors like these need to be taken into account," Shakoor said.

Other researchers at Rush involved in the study were Dr. Mondira Sengupta, Dr. Kharma Foucher, Markus Wimmer, PhD, Louis Fogg, PhD, and Dr. Joel Block. Funding was provided by a grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Najia Shakoor, Mondira Sengupta, Kharma C. Foucher, Markus A. Wimmer, Louis F. Fogg, Joel A. Block. The effects of common footwear on joint loading in osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis Care & Research, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/acr.20165

Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "Shoes: A treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324113424.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2010, March 25). Shoes: A treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324113424.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "Shoes: A treatment for osteoarthritis in the knees?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324113424.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) At least 1 in 5,000 U.S. babies are born each year with intersex conditions _ ambiguous genitals because of genetic glitches or hormone problems. Secrecy and surgery are common. But some doctors and activists are trying to change things. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins