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Close to Barefoot Best for Arthritic Knees
Date:11/9/2007

't all to be regarded the same way," said rheumatologist Eric Matteson, of the Mayo Clinic. "What's interesting is that we have this emphasis on proper shoe wear, but we need to consider that what we wear has an impact on other joints."

Matteson said there are still some questions that need to be answered.

"We need to do a little bit more work on this. The study was very small and there are a lot of ways that gait analysis can be performed, although they did a pretty sophisticated gait analysis," he explained. "They don't have a lot of different kinds of patients with different kinds of knee problems and they don't have a great diversity of shoewear relating it to different kinds of problems, but it does make me reflect on some of the advice that I have been giving."

According to Matteson, osteoarthritis of the knee is not the same for all people. Some people feel pain inside their knees, others feel it on the outside. He expressed interest in determining how footwear might relate with the different manifestations of knee pain. Osteoarthritis is a massive problem, said Matteson, affecting 20 million to 30 million Americans every year.

"Literally hundreds of thousands of knee replacement surgeries are due to osteoarthritis," he noted.

Knee osteoarthritis is caused by cartilage breakdown in the knee joint. Factors that increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis include being overweight, age, injury or stress to the joints, and family history.

In knee osteoarthritis, there is abundant evidence that patients with abnormally high loading knees (high amounts of stress on part or all of the knee joint) are at increased risk of both injury and disease progression, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

More information

For more on osteoarthritis, head to the Arthritis Foundation.


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