Wearing shoes specifically designed with a novel sole (biomechanical footwear) significantly reduces the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis, researchers suggest, in a study published in JAMA.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), the University of Toronto and the University of Bern Switzerland studied 220 participants who suffered with painful osteoarthritis. Half wore the biomechanical footwear while the others wore the “control” shoes. After 6 months of wearing the shoes, the biomechanical group had a larger decrease in their pain score measured by the Western Ontario Osteoarthritis Index pain scale.

“These findings provide strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of a new treatment for knee osteoarthritis,” David Felson, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at BUSM and coauthor of the study, says in a media release from BUSM.

Felson, a rheumatologist at Boston Medical Center, believes the treatment probably works by re-educating and reconditioning muscles in the legs.

According to the researchers, not only does it appear to reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis, but may also be effective for some people with hip or back pain.

The authors caution that further research is needed to assess long-term efficacy and safety.

[Source(s): Boston University School of Medicine, EurekAlert]