CTU Bern

BIOTOK Randomized Clinical Trial

Specially Designed Footwear Reduces Pain of Knee Osteoarthritis

First randomized clinical trial introduces new approach for treating the disease

Knee osteoarthritis affects approximately 275 million people worldwide and in 2017 was estimated to account for 8.3 million years lived with disability. Acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids are most commonly used drugs to treat pain but have limited effectiveness.

Researchers from from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, CTU and the Department of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergology in Bern, Switzerland, Boston University School of Medicine and the University of Toronto studied 220 participants who suffered from painful knee osteoarthritis. Half wore the biomechanical footwear while the others wore the “control” shoes. After six months of wearing the shoes, the biomechanical group had a larger decrease in their pain score measured by the Western Ontario Osteoarthritis Index pain scale. There were no differences in reported adverse events between the biomechanical footwear and the control shoes.

Biomechanics plays an important role in the development of osteoarthritis of the knee, and this trial is the first  with promising results regarding the successful alteration of the biomechanics of the lower limb. In addition, the treatment probably works also by re-educating and reconditioning muscles in the legs.

The authors caution that further research is needed to assess long-term efficacy and safety.

These findings appear in JAMA.