When you have knee pain, you just want it to go away so you can walk without having to limp or wince with every step. And a small, randomized trial published online Jan. 12, 2021, by Annals of Internal Medicine found that one type of shoe might be best for the job. Researchers took 164 people ages 50 or older with moderate or severe knee arthritis and randomly assigned half of the group to wear stable, supportive shoes with thick soles that didn't bend much. The other half was assigned flat shoes with thin, flexible soles, which are believed by some to provide a benefit by allowing more natural movement of the leg and foot. Both groups wore their assigned shoes for six hours per day and took part in activities such as walking during that time. After six months, 58% of people in the stable, supportive shoe group reported a reduction in knee pain while walking, compared with 40% of people reporting pain reduction after wearing the flat, flexible shoes. In both groups, the pain reduction probably was a benefit of regular walking. The people wearing flexible shoes were also twice as likely to develop ankle or foot pain, compared with those wearing sturdy shoes. So if you have knee pain, keep walking — in sturdy shoes.
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