The force applied to knee joints when walking has been linked to pain, severity, and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Researchers are interested in finding ways to reduce the force, thereby slowing or preventing progression of knee osteoarthritis. Researchers investigated the use of mobility shoes -- a flat, flexible specialty shoe designed specifically for the research. The mobility shoe allows natural foot mobility while providing adequate support for the foot.
At the beginning of the study, researchers used a special camera to analyze the gait of 16 study participants with knee osteoarthritis as they walked in their own shoes, barefoot, and in the mobility shoes. After the initial analysis, study participants were told to wear the mobility shoe at least 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 months. Researchers then re-evaluated their gait at 6, 12, and 24 weeks. Researchers concluded that mobility shoes compared to regular shoes significantly decreased knee loads. The longer the mobility shoe was worn, the better the result. Once participants switched from mobility shoes back to their regular shoes, there was still a beneficial alteration to their gait. Results are being presented at this week's American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.
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