This study aimed to evaluate the distribution of foot pressure with the most frequently used orthopedic shoes and demonstrate the effect of offloading philosophy on the pressure distributions of rocker bottom or heel support shoes applied unilaterally or bilaterally.
Materials and methods
Three bilateral and four unilateral, a total of seven shoe designs with sensors included in the insole were tested by the same subject in a standard acquisition protocol. Two of the unilateral and one of the bilateral shoes had heel support, while others had a rocker bottom design. A descriptive analysis was performed for each shoe and compared to a reference value obtained from a standard shoe.
Shoes with an offloading heel resulted in a greater reduction in pressure on the forefoot than other models. All other shoes increased pressure on the first metatarsophalangeal joint. Heel offloading models performed the best in forefoot offloading, and bilateral heel offloading shoes performed the best in first metatarsal offloading, with the highest scores of 83% and 82%, respectively.
This study showed that orthopedic shoes sold in pairs could reduce pressure on the forefoot at a comparable level to unilateral shoes. It supports their use to limit the disadvantages of single orthopedic shoes, such as limb length discrepancies.