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Magnetic Insoles Not Clinically Effective for Foot Pain Relief

Among a group of healthcare workers with non-specific foot pain, those wearing magnetic insoles reported similar pain reduction to those wearing matching insoles containing sham-magnets, according to a study in the September 2005 Mayo Clinic Proceedings [Vol. 8, No. 9, Pgs 1138-1145].
 
Mark H. Winemiller, MD, of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues reported changes from baseline visual analog scale pain scores among adult healthcare workers, 36 of whom wore cushioned Active Comfort magnetic insoles (Spenco Medical Corp., Waco, Texas) and 47 who used similar insoles from the same manufacturer that contained non-magnetized metal foil embedded in the foam insole material.
 
The subjects, who were 79 percent female and reported having non-specific, mostly stable foot pain which worsened with prolonged standing for at least 30 days prior to study inclusion, were to wear the insoles for at least four hours per day, four days per week.
 
In pain assessment questionnaires collected after four weeks and eight weeks of daily insole use, 32 percent in the magnet group and 33 percent in the sham-magnet group reported being all or mostly better at both assessments. The groups reported similar improvement in daytime, evening and morning pain, with those in the sham-magnet group consistently reporting a higher but non-significant reduction in pain scores from baseline compared with the magnet group.
 

 

Overall, 20 percent of the subjects reported problems, consisting mostly of tightness or a breakdown of the colored lining on the surface of the insoles, but the investigators reported no adverse effects from either insole type. The overall study compliance rate was 91 percent at four weeks and 81 percent at eight weeks.
 
“The static magnetic insoles studied were not clinically effective for treatment of chronic nonspecific foot pain,” the authors concluded, adding that “cushioning within the study insoles may have accounted for some of the pain improvements seen in both groups.”

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David Simard

David-Simard

David Simard has been practicing chiropody for the past 20 years.  He currently practices in Sault Ste. Marie, ON and his services extend to the Greater Algoma District.

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