Walking the Walk in Shoddy Shoes

Gout patients disability linked to poor footwear

(RxWiki News) Uncomfortable shoes can leave your feet aching, especially if you have a painful condition like gout. Wearing the right kind of footwear could be the difference between mobility and disability.

Many patients with gout wear shoes with excessive wear patterns. This poor footwear is linked to a greater risk of foot disability and impairment. Gout is associated with foot pain and disability.

"Wear comfortable shoes, your feet will thank you."

Keith Rome, Ph.D., from AUT University (Auckland University of Technology), and colleagues wanted to assess the link between footwear characteristics and foot disability in patients with gout.

The researchers recruited 50 gout patients who had moderate to severe foot pain and looked at the condition of their footwear.

The patients said the most important aspects of choosing their own footwear were comfort (98 percent), fit (90 percent), support (79 percent), and cost (60 percent).

Dr. Rome and colleagues found that more than 50 percent of the shoes were at least 12 months old and showed extensive wear patterns.

Footwear characteristics like length and width were not correlated with foot pain, impairment, or disability. However, patients with other shoe problems - such as poor cushioning and lack of support - had higher levels of foot-related impairment and disability.

"I believe that you need to choose a pair of shoes that accomplish what you're trying to improve," says fitness expert Jim Crowell. "For my athletes I actually like them to get away from shoes with overwhelmingly thick soles because I want them strengthening their calves and thick soles inhibit that idea. For somebody who has medical issues and needs the proper support I would want to make sure that they wear shoes that will provide them with a 'sure thing' meaning that I want them in a shoes that they can rely on for good support, good safety, and good comfort."

The study's authors conclude, "Use of poor footwear is common in patients with chronic gout and is associated with foot disability and impairment."

This observational study is published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Review Date: 
October 17, 2011