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Fit to Be Untied

Filed Under: Health Aids at 9:14 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
SneakersShoe selection can be a taxing and time consuming morning ritual. You have to take into account your day’s activities, the weather, the rest of your outfit and environment-suitability. A beat-up running shoe, for example, does not correspond with your office, nor does it match your slacks.  These types of considerations can make getting dressed extremely difficult but for most, are ultimately mere nuisances. For some, however, footwear is far more complicated and important, as it affects not only their fashion but their health as well.

Individuals with knee osteoarthritis suffer from chronic pain, which is combated with medication, physical therapy and, occasionally, surgery, but those treatments don’t always alleviate the entire ache.  Therefore, it is important that their everyday choices work to lessen any additional discomfort. This includes footwear.  A shoe’s impact is not confined to the foot. It affects other joints, especially the knees. Certain shoes place more of a load on the knee during movement and are, thus, less beneficial to arthritis sufferers. But how do you know which ones those are?

Until recently, it was assumed that the best covers for your foot were the shock-absorbing, athletic shoes and clogs. They offer the wearer comfort, support and stability. Yet according to current findings, they also maximize the impact on the knees, when compared to more flexible walking shoes and bare feet.  So it could be better for a knee-osteoarthritis patient to opt out of them, but, if that’s you, don’t rush into a pair of floppy Keds. The study had flaws; more research needs to be done. In the meantime, you and your doctor can take away from the findings a heightened awareness of footwear and how it’s affecting your knees. If your shoe is providing you with a cushy rest but lots of aches, you’ll know that there is an everyday change you can make to alleviate the pain.�

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