How can the shoes I wear affect my knees?

Dawn Marcus
Researchers at Rush Medical College evaluated the impact of wearing different shoes when walking on knee stress in patients with knee arthritis. They published findings in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism in 2008. In that study, they compared knee stress when wearing a self-chosen comfortable walking shoe, specialized stability shoes, and shoes engineered to be close to barefoot walking. The self-chosen shoes includes sneakers and loafers. Knee stress was greater when wearing either the self-chosen walking shoes or the specialized stability shoes compared with barefoot walking. Knee stress was lowest when wearing shoes that mimicked barefoot walking.

This same research group completed a second study that similarly evaluated knee stress when wearing clogs; Brooks Addiction stability shoes; Puma flat, soft-soled walking shoes; and flip-flops. Knee strain was again compared against barefoot walking. As before, shoes that most closely reproduced barefoot walking produced the least stress on the knee. Knee strain was greatest with the clogs and stability shoes. They postulated that heel height and shoe flexibility may have contributed to increased knee strain.

So the next time you’re looking for a good pair of walking shoes, look for ones with a flexible sole and low heel that allow you to walk like you’re barefoot.

Shoes play a big part in supporting our bodies. Our bodies are connected from head to toe. When you stride forward, you ankle takes the first impact, next are your knees, following your hips, lower back, etc. If you do not have shoes that will support and active lifestyle then you are not supporting your body. If you do not support your body then your knees will be one of the first areas to let you. Every individual is different in the sense of what hurts and when but if you are starting to feel any discomfort then consider purchasing new shoes, it will benefit you and your body will thank you!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.