Were you fascinated by the cleats worn by your favorite player at the recent Euro Cup? Do you get tempted to buy such complex-shaped shoes instead of the boring sneakers you want to get rid of? If that’s you, then you are not alone in your longing for the unloading shoes. The world drools over the sporty footwear and everyone wants to get their hands on them, no matter how expensive they are. The footwear industry has made huge sums of profits for years claiming that the shoes they offer are second to none.
Recently a study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne busted a myth about unloading shoes. The research enrolled 164 participants who suffer from osteoarthritis for a footwear trial between unloading footwear (Gel Melbourne OA) and conventional footwear (ASICS Gel Odyssey). All the participants had to wear both types of shoes for a period of 6 months and the results of pain management in each case was measured.
By the end of the trial, it was observed that both shoes worked equally well in reducing the knee pain. On average, about 25% pain relief and 22% knee function improvement was found in both cases.
With this study, a debate has been triggered that questions the effectiveness of unloading shoes. These shoes are not only more expensive than their conventional counterparts but also they are to be used only on the advice of a doctor. But now where do we stand with our footwear preference?
Likewise, people who suffer osteoarthritis often experience pain during mobility and seek out solutions through changing their footwear. While alternate options of undergoing surgeries and medications may not guarantee long lasting relief to their pain, these people associate their expectations to using unloading shoes. Unloading shoes have modified, stiff soles that are particularly designed to reposition the feet so that the stress on the knee can be reduced. While the stress on medial knee is unloaded, these shoes are expected to help with knee pain.
However, the efficacy of unloaded shoes in comparison with conventional footwear was not well established, previously.
With the surfacing of this research, the role of unloading shoes in mitigating knee pain looks dubious. If you or anybody near you have invested huge sums in such shoes, then please do not get disheartened because these shoes are still talk of the town.