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.