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Technology: Smart Shoe Insoles to Reduce Pain in Knee Osteoarthritis?

Participants Sought for Study Using Experimental Shoes and Their Own

A new study funded by the Arthritis Foundation is now recruiting participants to test a novel pressure detecting shoe insole to determine if it can help patients with osteoarthritis of the knee to achieve improved functionality and reduced pain. Test subjects, men and women, must have osteoarthritis in one or both knees, have not undergone knee replacement surgery, and be aged 40 years or above. A multidisciplinary research team from Rush University Medical Center, including a rheumatologist involved in creating the shoe, as well as an engineer and a physical therapist, will investigate whether the device can induce changes in walking gait that reduces strain on the knee. Lead investigator Markus Wimmer, PhD, commented, “We know from our studies at Rush that if you have osteoarthritis, and you put pressure on the medial compartment (inside) of the knee too much, the cartilage breaks down faster and the disease can worsen.” He noted that patients with knee osteoarthritis tend to exert this pressure increasingly as their disease worsens, creating a vicious cycle of cartilage deterioration.

In the study, the new insole, developed initially for skiers, will be combined with a flat, flexible shoe that permits natural foot movements. Participants will walk in both the experimental shoes and their own shoes at the University’s Motion Analysis Lab. 3D motion capture technology will analyze leg movements and footfall pressures to assess loading on the inside knee joint. Following assessment, the study subjects will wear the experimental shoes for 6 weeks, and return to the Lab for comparative analysis of their gait. Patients will self-report their pain and functionality before and after the study period.

Read more about the study, with contact information about participating.

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