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J Foot Ankle Res. 2014 Oct 23;7(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s13047-014-0043-8. eCollection 2014.

A survey of footwear advice, beliefs and wear habits in people with knee osteoarthritis.

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Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine Dentistry & Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC Australia.



Expert opinion recommends cushioned and supportive footwear for people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, little is known about the footwear advice people receive from healthcare professionals, or the beliefs and footwear habits of people with knee OA. This study aimed to determine i) what types of shoes people are advised to wear for their knee OA and by whom; ii) establish which types of shoes people with knee OA believe are best for managing their knee OA symptoms and (iii) which shoes they wear most often.


204 people with symptomatic knee OA completed an online survey. The survey comprised 14 questions asking what footwear advice people had received for their knee OA and who they received it from, individual beliefs about optimal footwear styles for their knee OA symptoms and the types of footwear usually worn.


Only one third (n = 69, 34%) of participants reported receiving footwear advice for their knee OA, and this was most frequently received from a podiatrist (n = 47, 68%). The most common advice was to wear sturdy/supportive shoes (n = 96, 47%) or shoes with arch supports (n = 84, 41%). These were also amongst the shoe styles that participants believed were best for their knee OA (n = 157 (77%) and n = 138 (68%) respectively). The type of shoes most frequently worn were athletic (n = 131, 64%) and sturdy/supportive shoes (n = 116, 57%).


Most people with knee OA who completed our survey had not received advice about footwear for their knee OA symptoms. Our participants typically believed that sturdy/supportive shoes were best for their knee OA and this shoe style was most frequently worn, which is reflective of expert opinion. Future research is needed to confirm whether sturdy/supportive shoes are indeed optimal for managing symptoms of knee OA.


Arthritis; Footwear; Knee; OA; Shoes; Survey

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