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IMPORTANCE: Individually calibrated biomechanical footwear therapy may improve pain and physical function in people with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, but the benefits of this therapy are unclear. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of a biomechanical footwear therapy vs control footwear over 24 weeks of follow-up. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Randomized clinical trial conducted at a Swiss university hospital. Participants (N = 220) with symptomatic, radiologically confirmed knee osteoarthritis were recruited between April 20, 2015, and January 10, 2017. The last participant visit occurred on August 15, 2017. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomized to biomechanical footwear involving shoes with individually adjustable external convex pods attached to the outsole (n = 111) or to control footwear (n = 109) that had visible outsole pods that were not adjustable and did not create a convex walking surface. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was knee pain at 24 weeks of follow-up assessed with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain subscore standardized to range from 0 (no symptoms) to 10 (extreme symptoms). The secondary outcomes included WOMAC physical function and stiffness subscores and the WOMAC global score, all ranging from 0 (no symptoms) to 10 (extreme symptoms) at 24 weeks of follow-up, and serious adverse events. RESULTS: Among the 220 randomized participants (mean age, 65.2 years [SD, 9.3 years]; 104 women [47.3%]), 219 received the allocated treatment and 213 (96.8%) completed follow-up. At 24 weeks of follow-up, the mean standardized WOMAC pain subscore improved from 4.3 to 1.3 in the biomechanical footwear group and from 4.0 to 2.6 in the control footwear group (between-group difference in scores at 24 weeks of follow-up, -1.3 [95% CI, -1.8 to -0.9]; P 

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1802 - 1812


Adult, Biomechanical Phenomena, Biomedical Engineering, Equipment Design, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Knee Joint, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Pain, Pain Management, Pain Measurement, Quality of Life, Shoes