Footwear for osteoarthritis of the lateral knee: Protocol for the FOLK randomised controlled trial

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Abstract

Background: Structural features of lateral tibiofemoral (TF) joint osteoarthritis (OA) occur in up to half of all people with knee OA, and co-existing lateral TF OA is associated with worse knee pain in people with mixed compartmental knee OA. Clinical guidelines for management of knee OA advocate advice about appropriate footwear, yet there is no research evaluating which types of footwear are best for managing pain associated with lateral TF OA. Biomechanical evidence suggests that "motion-control" footwear, which possess midsoles that are stiffer medially compared to laterally, may shift load away from the lateral compartment of the knee and thus may reduce knee pain associated with lateral TF OA. The primary aim of this study is to compare the effects of motion-control shoes to neutral shoes on knee pain in people with predominantly lateral TF OA. Methods: This will be an assessor- and participant-blinded, two-arm, comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in Melbourne, Australia. We will recruit a minimum of 92 people with painful lateral TF OA from the community. Participants will be randomly allocated to receive either motion-control shoes or neutral shoes and will be instructed to wear their allocated shoes for a minimum of 6 h per day for 6 months. The primary outcome is change in self-reported knee pain on walking, measured using a numerical rating scale, assessed at baseline and 6 months. Secondary outcomes include other measures of knee pain, physical function, quality of life, participant-perceived change in pain and function, and physical activity levels. Discussion: This study will compare the efficacy of motion-control shoes to neutral shoes for people with painful lateral TF OA. Findings will be the first to provide evidence of the effects of footwear on knee pain in this important subgroup of people with knee OA and allow clinicians to provide accurate advice about the most appropriate footwear for managing pain associated with lateral TF OA. Trial registration: This trial has been prospectively registered by the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry on 15/11/2018 (reference: ACTRN12618001864213).

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Paterson, K. L., Bennell, K. L., Metcalf, B. R., Campbell, P. K., Kasza, J., Wrigley, T. V., & Hinman, R. S. (2020). Footwear for osteoarthritis of the lateral knee: Protocol for the FOLK randomised controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-020-03275-5

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