Elevated dynamic joint loads have been associated with the severity and progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. This study compared the effects of a specialized shoe (the mobility shoe) designed to lower dynamic loads at the knee with self-chosen conventional walking shoes and with a commercially available walking shoe as a control.
Subjects with knee OA were evaluated in 2 groups. Group A (n = 28) underwent gait analyses with both their self-chosen walking shoes and the mobility shoes. Group B (n = 20) underwent gait analyses with a control shoe and the mobility shoe. Frontal plane knee loads were compared between the different footwear conditions.
Group A demonstrated an 8% reduction in the peak external knee adduction moment with the mobility shoe compared with self-chosen walking shoes (mean ± SD 49 ± 0.80 versus 2.71 ± 0.84 %BW × H; P < 0.05). Group B demonstrated a 12% reduction in the peak external knee adduction moment with the mobility shoe compared with the control shoe (mean ± SD 2.66 ± 0.69 versus 3.07 ± 0.75 %BW × H; P < 0.05).
Specialized footwear can effectively reduce joint loads in subjects with knee OA, compared with self-chosen shoes and control walking shoes. Footwear may represent a therapeutic target for the treatment of knee OA. The types of shoes worn by subjects with knee OA should be evaluated more closely in terms of their effects on the disease.