Do Ugly Shoes Help?

iStock_21783395_MEDIUMIf you have knee osteoarthritis, you've probably noticed for sale in pharmacies and elsewhere some rather ugly footwear purported to alleviate pain, and perhaps you've considered such a purchase.  Now, as Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week, there's finally evidence, as published in Annals of Internal Medicine, that you can give such a strategy a miss.  Here's what the investigators did:

A total of 164 people with knee osteoarthritis were randomized to wear shoes designed to unload their medial knee, the area where most people experience degeneration and pain, or to conventional walking shoes. They were instructed to wear the shoes daily and then were followed for six months.  At the end of the intervention period they were queried with regard to pain with walking and physical function. A number of secondary outcomes included knee stiffness, intermittent and/or constant knee pain, and quality of life. One hundred sixty subjects completed the trial.  And, as Rick and I quip in the podcast, it's time to boot those ugly shoes to the curb, as there was no significant difference between the groups on any measurement.  Rick and I agree that this study is especially helpful because there are a lot of devices being sold to help people manage common conditions like osteoarthritis that have never been scrutinized carefully, and we're hoping this is just the first study to do so.

Other topics this week include two from JAMA on HIV management, and one from the Lancet on mortality and obesity.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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