The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Study Explores The Link Between Knee Osteoarthritis & Foot Pain

Posted by on Friday, August 14th, 2015


A new study published in the journal of Arthritis Care and Research found that about 25% of patients with knee osteoarthritis also have foot and ankle pain.1 The investigation of 1,255 patients found that people with foot pain and knee osteoarthritis were more likely to be young and female with a higher BMI. More than half the patients (54.9%) suffered from bilateral foot pain. Researchers could not determine whether the foot pain caused the knee problems, the knee problems caused the foot pain, or if both issues arose simultaneously, but they surmised that pronation and other biomechanical conditions resulted as patients overcompensated for the knee arthritis, and that overcompensation worsened the pain.

knee osteoarthritis
In the worst cases of knee osteoarthritis, a person can become bowlegged as the body attempts to overcompensate for the pain. Footwear intervention from podiatrists can slow this progression. Image Source:

Foot Pain Worsens Outcome For Osteoarthritis Patients

Arthritis patients with concurrent foot pain performed significantly worse in terms of:

– Pain (7 vs. 5 on the WOMAC scale)

– Stiffness (4 vs. 3 on the WOMAC scale)

– Function (21 vs. 14.9 on the WOMAC scale)

– Mental (54.4 vs. 56.3 on the SF-12 scale)

On these scales, a two point difference is considered “clinically significant.” Patients with both types of pain walked slower and performed significantly slower on the repeated chair stand test, researchers noted. “Future research, they said, should investigate the effects of interventions targeted toward the treatment of aberrant foot posture and/or pain in knee OA patients,” the authors noted. It may sound like these conclusions are fairly obvious, but the study illuminates the importance of podiatric care in the overall treatment of arthritis patients.2

What Can Podiatrists Do For Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

Research indicates that wedge orthotics are not necessarily beneficial for all patients, but may help some on a case-by-case basis. More importantly is an arthritis patient’s choice of footwear. “Wearing flat-heeled, flexible shoes—especially ones that mimic the natural movement of walking barefoot” has been proven to slow the progression of osteoarthritis in the knee, reports Harvard Health.3 One study cited by Podiatry found that switching to minimalist shoes led to an 18% reduction of force to the medial knee, as well as a reduction in pain of 36%.4

A few brands of flexible, minimalist shoes recommended for osteoarthritis patients include:

– Dr. Comfort Flex-OA

– Moleca®

– Merrell Vapor Glove 2

After an examination, we can offer more tailored suggestions to benefit your particular anatomy.

Why Choose Us As Your NYC Podiatry Practice?

Knee arthritis patients may suffer from corns, calluses, bunions, diabetes, collapsed foot arches, and other foot issues that can best be treated by podiatrists. Our board-certified NYC podiatrists have been treating these issues locally in Manhattan and Westchester for more than a decade with great success, using the latest techniques including laser and ultrasound therapy, platelet rich plasma and biopuncture injections, and orthotic devices.

While many practices focus on surgical therapy for arthritis, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC is fully equipped with state-of-the-art gait analysis equipment that examines the root cause of your discomfort. We focus on total body wellness and look at how your body alignment can be corrected to take the stress off your joints. While we have experienced, board-certified surgeons on staff, we have a number of minimally invasive treatments to offer as well. Sometimes the answer is as simple as lifestyle modification or shoe choice. Patient education is an important component of our practice. Contact us to set up a consultation; we’d love to answer all your questions!



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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.