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Effects of Lateral and Medial Wedged Insoles on Knee and Ankle Internal Joint Moments During Walking in Healthy Men

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  • 1 Neuroscience and Cognition Program, Federal University of ABC, São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil.
  • | 2 Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • | 3 Biomedical Engineering Program, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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Background: Wedged insoles have been used to treat knee pathologies and to prevent injuries. Although they have received much attention for the study of knee injury, the effects of wedges on ankle joint biomechanics are not well understood. This study sought to evaluate the immediate effects of lateral and medial wedges on knee and ankle internal joint loading and center of pressure (CoP) in men during walking.

Methods: Twenty-one healthy men walked at 1.4 m/sec in five footwear conditions: neutral, 6° (LW6) and 9° (LW9) lateral wedges, and 6° (MW6) and 9° (MW9) medial wedges. Peak internal knee abduction moments and angular impulses, internal ankle inversion moments and angular impulses, and mediolateral CoP were analyzed. Analysis of variance with post hoc analysis and Pearson correlations were performed to detect differences between conditions.

Results: No differences in internal knee joint loading were found between neutral and any of the wedge conditions. However, as the wedge angle increased from medial to lateral, the internal ankle inversion moment (LW6: P = .020; LW9: P < .001; MW6: P = .046; MW9: P < .001) and angular impulse (LW9: P = .012) increased, and the CoP shifted laterally (LW9: P < .001) and medially (MW9: P < .001) compared with the neutral condition.

Conclusions: Neither lateral nor medial wedges were effective in altering internal knee joint loading during walking. However, the greater internal ankle inversion moment and angular impulse observed with lateral wedges could lead to a higher risk of ankle injury. Thus, caution should be taken when lateral wedges need to be prescribed.

Corresponding author: Darren J. Stefanyshyn, PhD, PEng, Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4. (E-mail: stefanys@ucalgary.ca)