(HealthDay News) – Rocker sole shoes seem no more beneficial than flat sole shoes for people with low back pain (LBP), according to a study published in the Oct. 15 issue of Spine.

Catharine Siân MacRae, PhD, from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomized 115 people with chronic LBP to wear rocker sole shoes or flat sole shoes for a minimum of two hours each day while standing and walking, and during a weekly exercise and education program.

Data were available from 44 and 49 participants in the rocker and flat sole groups, respectively, at 12 months. The researchers found that, at 12 months, the mean reduction in the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) was −3.1 in the rocker sole group and −4.4 in the flat sole group, representing a greater reduction in disability in the flat sole group. More people wearing flat shoes vs. rocker shoes demonstrated a minimal clinically important improvement in disability at six months (53.2% vs. 31.1%; P=0.03). There were no significant differences between the groups for RMDQ or any secondary outcomes (such as pain) at any time.

“Rocker sole shoes seem to be no more beneficial than flat sole shoes in affecting disability and pain outcomes in people with chronic LBP,” the authors write.

Funds were received from Masai GB Ltd. (footwear manufacturers) in support of this work.

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