Researchers at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, reported in March that a pilot study comparing two therapeutic shoe soles in eight individuals with claudication showed a reduction in calf pain with rocker sole wear.
The investigators asked study volunteers, who could walk 10 m to 400 m before experiencing calf pain, to don two pairs of therapeutic shoes for walking trials that took place in a single testing session; the pairs of shoes were identical except for the addition to one pair of a specifically designed three-curve rocker sole.
Researchers measured pain-free walking distance before onset of pain and the intensity of calf pain after its onset. Compared with the unaltered therapeutic shoe, volunteers experienced increased walking distance and reduced calf pain intensity with the rocker sole. The findings were published this month in the Journal of Vascular Nursing.
The investigators concluded that rocker soles have the potential to reduce circulatory calf pain. They are planning a more extensive study to determine if there are additional effects on circulatory pain when the rocker-sole shoes are worn for extended periods.
Hutchins SW, Lawrence G, Blair S, et al. Use of a three-curved rocker sole shoe modification to improve intermittent claudication calf pain. A pilot study. J Vasc Nurs 2012;30(1):11-20.