Knee Arthritis? Change Your Shoes for Prevention and Treatment
Let's face it, arthritis is no fun for anyone. The chronic feeling of pain and stiffness in joints can be both inhibiting and frustrating in daily life. Osteoarthritis (OA) in knees can be especially distressing because it can be felt with every single step and often limit mobility. Unfortunately, the latest statistics from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention tell us that this is a very common problem with almost 50% of people developing symptoms of knee OA by the age of 85.
The good news is that this condition may be preventable or even somewhat relieved by a simple change in footwear. Many people do not think to associate knee pain with shoes, but current research suggests the connection is strong.
A 2006 study performed at Rush Medical College1 studied the knee-load, or the amount of stress placed on knee joints, from several participants wearing a variety of different shoes. The test footwear included clogs, stability shoes, walking shoes, flip-flops and bare feet. After taking time to allow participants to adapt to their new footwear, researchers measured the knee load from each type of shoe. After compiling the data, the results came as a surprise to many people.
Clogs and stability shoes both ranked highest for knee load. That's right, the soft cushioned shoes with thickly padded heels designed to make feet feel cushy caused the most strain on knees. Going barefoot proved to be best with 16% less load! Flip-flops and walking shoes with flatter soles fell in the middle, but ranked closer to the barefoot results.
Dr. Ray McClanahan, podiatrist at NW Foot and Ankle, has devoted his career to studying how foot and body problems can be treated and prevented by encouraging natural foot function. His own work strongly correlates with this study. As he puts it, "Footwear plays an important role in the development and/or worsening of osteoarthritis of the knee. Wearing stiff footwear, like clogs and traditional athletic shoes, has been shown to increase stress on the knees. This contributes significantly to arthritis. On the other hand, when shoes are completely flat and sufficiently wide, the foot can function optimally, and there is minimal stress placed on the knee."2
This data suggests that going barefoot or wearing shoes with flat, flexible soles may decrease your chances of developing knee OA. And if you already feel pain in your knee joints, switching to barefoot or minimalist shoes may provide relief from the pain by putting less strain on your knees as you walk. Arthritis is not reversible, but it may be preventable and treatment can slow its progression.
Another tip for healthy joints: keep moving! While it may sound like less movement overall is best to prevent knee load, the opposite is actually true. Multiple studies have shown that regular movement both strengthens joints and helps keep weight down (which also lessens knee load). Failing to move or exercise enough has been shown to be just as damaging to your joints as overexertion and excessive strain. Although doctors disagree on what should be considered a healthy amount of exercise, 1–2 hours of moderate activity three or more days a week is often considered ideal.
We're proud to say that every shoe we make here at Soft Star comes with a completely flat and flexible zero-drop sole. For more information about the qualities we require in our shoes, check out our Barefoot Shoe Infographic. And if you do decide to transition to try minimalist shoes, remember to transition slowly!
1. Shakoor, Najia and Block, Joel A. (2006). Walking Barefoot Decreases Loading on the
Lower Extremity Joints in Knee Osteoarthritis. ARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISM, Vol. 54, No. 9. https://nwfoot-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/editor/files/127/Shakoor___Block_-_Walking_Barefoot_Decreases_Loading_On_Lower_Extremities.pdf
2. Dr. Ray McClanahan. "Knees and Arthritis" NW Foot and Ankle. https://nwfootankle.com/foot-health/drill/2-articles/118-knees-arthritis
This post was posted in In the Workshop and was tagged with barefoot, minimalist, shoes, footwear, clogs, cure, treatment, flat, zero-drop, treat, prevent, knee, arthritis, osteoarthritis, oa, flip-flops, stability
- ►April 2014 (2)
- ►March 2014 (3)
- ►February 2014 (3)
- ►January 2014 (2)
- ►December 2013 (6)
- Happy Thanksgiving! Holiday Shopping Tips and Ideas from the Elves
- GIVEAWAY! One-of-a-Kind Green Merry Mocs
- Holiday Shipping for Soft Star Shoes
- Tips for Choosing Minimalist Boots and Winter Shoes
- GIVEAWAY: Win a Free Pair of Very Unique Merry Mocs!
- We Have a Winner for Our Halloween Costume Contest!
- Help Us Pick a New Leather Color
- Shoe Artisans Share New Ideas at the Soft Star Workshop
- Heartfelt Obituary for Red Dash
- Monkeys and Elves Unite! Soft Star Teams Up with Luna Sandals
- Soft Star Halloween Costume Photo Contest… and a Secret from the Elves
- Knee Arthritis? Change Your Shoes for Prevention and Treatment
- We Have a Sweepstakes Winner! And More to Come...
- ►September 2013 (5)
- ►August 2013 (5)
- ►July 2013 (5)
- ►June 2013 (4)
- Should Trail Shoes Be Thicker Than Street Shoes? Maybe Not...
- Soft Star Survey: Receive a Free $5 Gift Card and a Chance to Win $100 Cash!
- Elves Getting Dirty! Soft Star Volunteers at SAGE Community Gardens
- First Sneak Peek at the New Soft Star Ballet Flat!
- Maker's Wild Documentary: Go Behind the Scenes at Soft Star Shoes
- Are High Heels Giving You Hammer Toes? Tips for Prevention and Treatment
- Intrigued by Barefoot Running? Start this Weekend with International Barefoot Running Day!
- Are Those Shoes Made of Wood?
- Wikler's Quest for Healthy Children's Feet
- Michael Sandler Visit and Workshop – Barefoot Walking Book Review and GIVEAWAY!
- Thinking of Boston
- How Fast Do Children's Feet Grow?
- Barefoot Pioneers: the People Who Taught Us "Barefoot is Best"
- Caballo Blanco's Legacy Lives On: Tom Norwood Returns from Copper Canyon
- Book Review: Overthinking the Marathon by Ray Charbonneau
- Reinventing the Hammer: OSU Students Bring Their Skills to Soft Star
- An Olympic Thank You! Help Missy Franklin Swim for MS
- The Mighty Arch, Part 2: Strengthen Your Arches to Treat and Prevent Foot Pain
- Running Green: Soft Star Shoes at the Portland Shamrock Run
- Winter Playday at the Soft Star Workshop
- The Mighty Arch, Part 1: A Natural Cure for Plantar Fasciitis?
- ►February 2013 (4)
- ►January 2013 (1)
- ►December 2012 (5)
- A Barefoot Running Book for Kids (Includes Free Lesson in Consumerism) + GIVEAWAY!
- Happy Thanksgiving! Turkey Shoes and Small Business
- Infographic: How to Choose Barefoot Shoes
- Rally 4 Jillie!
- Gifts for Her this Holiday Season - Fitting Tassels
- Sneak Peek at New Shoes for Women and Men - Vote for a Name!
- Soft Star Shoes for Mari's Place
- Introducing Youth Dash and Phoenix Boots
- Sneak Peek of the New Youth Dash - Vote for Your Favorite Color!
- And the Winner Is...
- Race, Walk or Skip for the Cure!
- Caption Contest Finalists - Vote for Your Favorite!
- Soft Star Caption Contest – Win a Free DVD of Barefoot Running, the Movie!
- ►September 2012 (3)
- ►August 2012 (3)
- ►June 2012 (3)
- ►May 2012 (2)
- ►April 2012 (2)
- ►March 2012 (1)
- ►February 2012 (3)
- ►January 2012 (2)
- ►December 2011 (4)
- ►November 2011 (3)
- ►October 2011 (3)
- ►September 2011 (4)
- ►August 2011 (4)
- ►July 2011 (5)
- ►June 2011 (3)
- ►May 2011 (5)
- ►April 2011 (3)
- ►March 2011 (2)
- ►February 2011 (4)
- ►January 2011 (3)
- ►November 2010 (4)
- ►October 2010 (3)
- ►August 2010 (2)
- ►July 2010 (1)
- ►May 2010 (3)
- ►April 2010 (4)
- ►March 2010 (3)
- ►February 2010 (9)
- ►January 2010 (1)
- ►December 2009 (3)
- ►November 2009 (2)
- ►October 2009 (6)
- ►September 2009 (3)
- ►August 2009 (3)
- ►July 2009 (2)
- ►June 2009 (3)
- ►May 2009 (3)
- ►April 2009 (2)
- ►March 2009 (6)
- ►February 2009 (2)
- ►January 2009 (4)
- ►December 2008 (3)
- ►November 2008 (4)
- ►October 2008 (4)
- ►August 2008 (4)
- ►July 2008 (2)
- ►June 2008 (6)
- ►May 2008 (4)
- ►April 2008 (7)
- ►March 2008 (2)
- ►February 2008 (2)
- ►January 2008 (4)
- ►November 2007 (2)
- ►October 2007 (5)
- ►September 2007 (2)
- ►August 2007 (2)
- ►July 2007 (3)
- ►June 2007 (2)
- ►May 2007 (2)
- ►April 2007 (2)
- ►March 2007 (4)
- ►February 2007 (2)
- ►January 2007 (2)
- ►December 2006 (1)
- ►November 2006 (4)
- ►October 2006 (3)
- ►September 2006 (4)
- ►August 2006 (5)
- ►July 2006 (4)
- ►June 2006 (5)