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Knee Pain Reduction Using a Shock-Absorbing Sole

Arnold S. Ross DPM, MS1,2 and Lester J. Jones DPM, MSEd3,4
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  • 1 Private practice, Los Angeles, CA.
  • | 2 Department of Biomechanics and Mechanical Orthopedics, Western University of Health Sciences, College of Podiatric Medicine, Pomona, CA.
  • | 3 Department of Surgery and Biomechanics, Western University of Health Sciences, College of Podiatric Medicine, Pomona, CA.
  • | 4 Department of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Olive View UCLA Medical Center, Sylmar, CA.
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Background: The biomechanics of the foot and leg are responsible for shock absorption during human gait. Lack of shock absorption is known to be a key component of knee pain. This study compares a new model of shoe sole with a built-in modification intended to absorb shock with a traditional sole shoe to examine whether shoe design modifications can help alleviate knee pain.

Methods: A double-blind randomized controlled study was performed. Fifty-two adults with overuse symptoms of knee pain, either unilateral or bilateral, were enrolled and randomly assigned to use the intervention sole or the traditional sole shoes. For 5 weeks, participants wore either the shoe with the intervention sole or the shoe with the traditional sole, rating their knee pain on a 10-point visual analog scale at study onset, midway, and study completion.

Results: After 5 weeks, participants using the intervention sole shoe reported an average reduction in knee pain of 85%, significantly better than participants using the traditional sole shoe (P < .001), whose average pain scores increased. Positive effects on back and foot pain were also observed in those with the intervention sole shoe compared with the traditional sole shoe.

Conclusions: The intervention shock-absorbing sole represents an approach to midsole and outsole construction that can potentially increase shock absorption and decrease knee pain during prolonged standing and walking.

Corresponding author: Arnold S. Ross, DPM, MS, 1990 Westwood Blvd, Ste 220, Los Angeles, CA 90025. (E-mail: asross1@juno.com)