Harvard Women's Health Watch

Insoles for arthritic knees

Research finds little, if any, benefit to these shoe inserts.

Nearly a third of us will develop osteoarthritis of the knee by our 60s. With no cure for this painful joint condition on the horizon, relief often has to come from pain pills, exercises, and physical therapy—or eventually, a joint replacement.

One low-tech option for treating knee arthritis is to wear shoe inserts called wedge insoles. Lateral wedge insoles are thicker at the outer edge of the foot, which is meant to take some of the pressure off the inner knee joint, thereby reducing pain. Yet a recent research review published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found no strong evidence that these shoe inserts relieve knee arthritis pain.

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