Joint loading decreased by inexpensive and minimalist footwear in elderly women with knee osteoarthritis during stair descent

Arthritis Care & Research , 03/16/2012

Sacco ICN et al. – Besides the general foot protection, the inexpensive and minimalist footwear contributes to decreasing knee loads in elderly women with osteoarthritis (OA) during stair descent. The loads are similar to the barefoot condition and effectively decreased when compared with heeled shoes.


  • Thirty–four elderly women were equally divided into an OA group and a control group (CG).
  • Stair descent was evaluated in barefoot condition, while wearing the Moleca, and while wearing heeled shoes.
  • Kinematics and ground reaction forces were measured to calculate KAM by using inverse dynamics.


  • The OA group experienced a higher knee adduction moment (KAM) during midstance under the barefoot condition (233.3%; P = 0.028), the Moleca (379.2%; P = 0.004), and heeled shoes (217.6%; P = 0.007).
  • The OA group had a similar knee load during early, mid, and late stance with the Moleca compared with the barefoot condition.
  • Heeled shoes increased the knee loads during the early–stance (versus barefoot [16.7%; P < 0.001] and versus the Moleca [15.5%; P < 0.001]), midstance (versus barefoot [8.6%; P = 0.014] and versus the Moleca [9.5%; P = 0.010]), and late–stance phase (versus barefoot [10.6%; P = 0.003] and versus the Moleca [9.2%; P < 0.001]).
  • In the CG, the Moleca produced a knee load similar to the barefoot condition only during the early–stance phase.

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