Knee Pain: Stability Walking Shoes for Arthritic Knees – Good or Bad?

In a recent report of a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, found that flip-flops and sneakers with flexible soles are easier on the knees than clogs or even special (stability) walking shoes. This may also contribute to lesser occurences of knee pain.

“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.” This can affect the occurences of knee pain.

knee pain

In our past MCR articles on knee pains, you often find causes that a few steps away from the pain site such as the ankle, hip, or lower back but utlimately link back bio-mechanically to the knee.

And this bio-mechanical chain sometimes make treatment for knee pain or support choices difficult. Shakoor cautioned that knee loading is not the only consideration in any clinical recommendations for knee pains 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.

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