Flip Flops Help Knee Pain

Flip flops may be good for knee painAs reported in the LA Times this morning, a recent study found that flip-flops and flat shoes relieved arthritic knees whereas clogs and stability shoes actually put more stress on knees.

In a study that evaluated the force or “load” on arthritic knees while wearing clogs, athletic shoes with stability features, flat walking shoes, flip-flops, and going barefoot, the flat and flexible shoes won out, says study lead author Najia Shakoor, MD, an associate professor of internal medicine at Rush Medical College and an attending physician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Her study is published online in Arthritis Care & Research.

Arthritis of the knee is common and a major source of disability and impaired quality of life, the researchers say. Shakoor’s team evaluated 31 men and women who had knee arthritis, evaluating their gait as they wore different forms of footwear.

Shakoor measured what’s known as a knee adduction moment, ”which measures the extent of the force upon your knee as you walk.”

”Flat walking shoes, barefoot, and flip-flops were essentially the same in load on the knee,” she says. “But clogs and stability shoes result in a 15% higher load.”

”These are just initial studies, and it’s too early to recommend [changes],” she says. “But several studies are suggesting that perhaps flat, flexible footwear may help decrease loads on the knee compared to footwear that is less flexible and has higher heels. Stability shoes have higher heels [than other athletic shoes].”

”We think it’s the flatness and the flexibility that may provide the benefit.”

And, she cautioned: “We are definitely not advocating flip-flops. A flat walking shoe would be better than a flip-flop for other reasons — stability and the risk of falling.”

I love my flip-flops so one more reason to get them out and enjoy them over summer!

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