Taking a "load off" joint pain with mobility shoes

One in two Americans will develop knee osteoarthritis at some point in their lifetime.
December 16, 2013 1:16:53 AM PST
One in two Americans will develop knee osteoarthritis at some point in their lifetime. If you suffer from this painful joint disease you know how challenging it can be to stay moving, but what if changing something as simple as your shoes could cut down on knee pain without medication or surgery?

Every step you take puts five times your body's weight on your knees and joints. For those with osteoarthritis, the pressure can be unbearable.

"When that pain won't go away, it's debilitating," Jim Harvey said.

For Jim Harvey, the pain began decades ago while carrying his two young girls.

"I missed a step and I felt something go on my knee," Jim said.

He considered surgery, but instead enrolled in a new study that did not involve a trip to the operating room.

"We hope that if we can reduce load in some way that we will prevent progression of arthritis and improve pain," Najia Shakoor, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Rheumatologist, Rush University Medical Center said

Prior research shows walking barefoot is the best way to reduce load on the knees, but that's not always practical. That's where the new mobility shoe comes in.

"We designed the shoe to essentially mimic being barefoot. So, you would still have some protective cover on your foot, but you would get a very natural barefoot-like gait," Dr. Shakoor said.

Results show after six-months, participants saw an 18 percent decrease in joint load, without drugs or surgery.

You may also find relief by just looking for a flat, flexible soled shoe.

"Go out there and find a shoe that bends. See if it is sole bends and try it out," Dr. Shakoor suggested.

For Jim, it's been life changing. "Now, I don't want to take them off," Jim said.

It's a simple shoe that is making life more comfortable.

The mobility shoes run between $129 and $149.


Najia Shakoor, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine and Rheumatologist
Rush University Medical Center