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Biomechanical Footwear May Aid Knee Osteoarthritis Outcomes

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 -- Use of biomechanical footwear is associated with an improvement in pain among patients with knee osteoarthritis at 24 weeks of follow-up, although the improvements are of uncertain clinical importance, according to a study published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Stephan Reichenbach, M.D., from the University of Bern in Switzerland, and colleagues randomly assigned 220 participants with symptomatic, radiologically confirmed knee osteoarthritis to either biomechanical footwear involving shoes with individually adjustable external convex pods attached to the outsole (111 patients) or to control footwear (109 patients). Knee pain was assessed at 24 weeks for 213 participants.

The researchers found that the mean standardized Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain subscore improved from 4.3 to 1.3 in the biomechanical footwear group and from 4.0 to 2.6 in the control footwear group. Findings were similar across the WOMAC physical function subscore, stiffness subscore, and global score at 24 weeks. Three serious adverse events not related to treatment occurred in the biomechanical footwear group versus nine in the control footwear group.

"Further research would be needed to assess long-term efficacy and safety, as well as replication, before reaching conclusions about the clinical value of this device," the authors write.

Apos Medical Assets provided the biomechanical and control footwear.

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