Content » Vol 46, Issue 6

Original report

Use and effects of custom-made therapeutic footwear on lower-extremity-related pain and activity limitations in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A prospective observational study of a cohort

Rutger Dahmen, Saskia Buijsmann, Petra C. Siemonsma, Maarten Boers, Gustaaf J. Lankhorst, Leo D. Roorda
Amsterdam Rehabilitation Research Center, Reade, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1807


Objectives: An estimated 55–90% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis have foot problems. Therapeutic footwear is frequently prescribed as part of usual care, but data on its use and effect is incomplete. This study aimed to investigate the use and effects of therapeutic footwear.
Methods: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving
custom-made therapeutic footwear for the first time formed an inception cohort. Patients reported their therapeutic footwear use on 3 consecutive days in activity diaries 14 and 20 weeks after delivery of the footwear. The Western Ontario and McMasters Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) was used as the primary outcome of lower-extremity-related pain and activity limitations, and the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) as a secondary outcome measure of activity limitations, both at baseline and 26 weeks after therapeutic footwear delivery.
Results: The cohort comprised 114 rheumatoid arthritis patients (median disease duration 10 years). Mean (standard deviation) therapeutic footwear use was 54 (25)% of the time patients were out of bed. The median (interquartile range) WOMAC score improved from 41 (27–59) to 31 (16–45) (p < 0. 001). Secondary outcome measures improved significantly.
Conclusion: Therapeutic footwear was used with moderate intensity by most rheumatoid arthritis patients and was associated with a substantial decrease in pain and activity limitations. Therapeutic footwear is a relevant treatment option for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and foot problems.

Lay Abstract


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