Pain Shoes

Reporter: Georiga Main

After a two year Australian study...one of the first of its kind...the results are in...

Professor Kim Bennell and her team at Melbourne University are behind the specialist shoe study...

"People took the shoe home to wear over a period of 8 weeks and they wore it on average about 5 hours a day and we found that about 70% of them reported improvements in pain and these improvements were around 20%. To put that into perspective that's equivalent to what you will get with taking drugs, pain killers." Said Kim Bennell

"So the main problem area is the knee?

That's because the majority of the load when we walk passes through this inside compartment.

How can something like this help the way we walk?

So the shoe has special design features that are built into the mid sole where the material is firmer or denser on the outside and less dense on the inside so what that does is changes how you walk by doing that it changes the line of force application which reduces load on that inside compartment of the knee." Said Reporter and Kim

For 77 year old Robert Douglas walking up and down steps used to be particularly painful. After suffering from osteo arthritis for nearly a decade...Robert wanted an alternative to surgery and medication...

"At the end of a day my knees and legs were nowhere near as sore as if I had have been using ordinary work boots which I used to use." Said Robert

In conjunction with athletic footwear company ASICS...the GEL MELBOURNE'S have been seven years in the making...

"I pulled the cartilage on my knee about 6-7 years ago and I was quite lame for a long time I even used a walking stick." Said Mary

Pensioner Mary Gordon was resigned to a life in pain...until she spotted an ad in her local paper calling for volunteers to try a new treatment for arthritis...

"There was a big improvement after about 8 weeks. I had stopped using a cane by then." Said Mary

An exciting development for a disease with no cure according to President of Arthritis Australia Professor Patrick McNeil...

"Nearly a third of Australians in health surveys say they suffer from arthritis or some from of muscular skeletal disorder that's nearly 7 million Australians. Of those probably 4 million have osteo arthritis." Said Prof Patrick

And that number is set to grow with our ageing population...

"We know that being overweight is by far the biggest risk factor and then injury to the knee early in life is the second biggest risk factor so protecting joints from injury and keeping an ideal body weight is important." Said Professor Patrick

95% of knee replacements are due to osteo arthritis...at a cost of up to $20,000 for the operation...plus time off work and months of rehab. But the study found for $180 these shoes will not only reduce pain but possibly the need for surgery.

"The direct and indirect costs of osteo arthritis to aust are around $30 billion a year and about 60% of those costs are met by the patient so a big burden to the health care system." Said Professor

Hope for sufferers like Mary who has gone from being constantly in pain to walking up to 6 kilometres every single day...

For anyone wanting to purchase the shoes or information about the shoes

PH: 1300 139 741

E-mail:

customerservice@asics.com.au

For information about taking part in our current clinical trial evaluating the shoes

http://www.chesm.unimelb.edu.au/volunteer/shark/shark.html