Stable, supportive shoes seem to be better for pain linked to knee osteoarthritis, compared with flat, flexible shoes, according to trial results published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Other studies have contended that flat, flexible shoes could offer more pain relief.
Some 160 patients aged 50 and up with moderate-to-severe, symptomatic radiographic medial knee osteoarthritis were randomised to wear flat, flexible shoes or stable, supportive shoes for at least 6 hours per day for 6 months.
At the end of the intervention, those wearing stable, supportive shoes had significantly greater improvement in knee pain while walking — but not better physical functioning — compared with those wearing flat, flexible shoes.
The researchers conclude: "To our knowledge, our study provides the first (randomised, controlled trial) evidence to suggest that stable supportive shoes may be a useful self-management strategy in this subgroup of patients with knee osteoarthritis, supporting clinical practice guideline recommendations that, to date, have been based solely on expert opinion."