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'Super trainers' show no back pain benefits

Researchers from King’s College London have found that rocker sole shoes that promise to improve posture and reduce back pain appear to be no more beneficial than traditional sports shoes.

Dr Sian MacRae, Dr Duncan Critchley (both King’s) and Dr Adam Shortland (Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust), along with colleagues from Hertfordshire University and the University of  Ljubljana, conducted a study to investigate manufacturer’s claims that rocker sole shoes help to ease back pain.

115 people with chronic low back pain were randomised to wear a rocker sole shoe or a flat sole shoe for at least two hours each day while standing and walking. Participants also wore their assigned shoes during sessions on a four-week exercise and education programme.

At six months, more people wearing flat sole shoes compared to rocker sole shoes demonstrated a minimal clinically important improvement in disability. At a one-year assessment, the researchers found that the rocker sole shoes were no more or less effective than flat sole shoes in reducing pain and disability.

The study will be published in the journal Spine on 15 October 2013, but the research findings were reported in an article by the Mail on Sunday on 1 September 2013.

Find out more about the study here