Shoe Insoles Meant to Make Walking Easier for MS Patients to Be Tested in Australia

Shoe Insoles Meant to Make Walking Easier for MS Patients to Be Tested in Australia

A specialty shoe insole that may help multiple sclerosis (MS) patients walk and go about their daily lives with more assurance and ease was developed by an Australian-led research team, which is now seeking 176 patients to test the insole in a three-month trial.

The study is led by Anna Hatton, a physiotherapy professor at the University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in Australia, and is supported by Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia.

“Many people with MS experience problems with walking which can make day-to-day activities difficult and often leads to falls, so improving walking ability is of primary importance in maintaining health, independence, and quality of life,” Hatton said in a press release.

“Evidence suggests that wearing textured shoe insoles, which are designed to stimulate receptors on the soles of the feet, may be one possible option to help improve gait,” she added. “We now need people with MS to help us investigate whether the novel insoles influence the way the leg and trunk muscles work while walking on both even and uneven surfaces.”

The team will also investigate changes in the perception of sensations in the feet and awareness of the foot’s position, as these play a key role in keeping the body balanced when walking.

“We know from previous studies that people with MS often have poor sensation on the soles of their feet,” Hatton said. “Therefore, wearing a specially designed shoe insole, which enhances sensory information at the feet, could help people affected by MS to walk better.”

Researchers hope that this study will result in a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use treatment approach that might give MS patients a more autonomous lifestyle.

Study participants must be older than 18, diagnosed with MS, be able to walk 100 meters (about 110 yards) independently or with only minor assistance from a mobility aid, and have no other neurological disorders or cognitive impairment.

Team members includes Sandra Brauer and Katrina Williams of Queensland University, Keith Rome with the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and John Dixon of Teesside University in the U.K.

The study will take place at Queens University’s Gait Lab. Interested MS patients can contact Hatton at a.hatton1@uq.edu.au, or by calling +61-7-3365-4590 or +61-7-3365-3299.

4 comments

  1. Diane Cunningham says:

    I would so like to be a participant but getting from USA to Katrina Williams of Queensland University impossible. I do relate to the balance and also dizziness issues. Having MS for over 30yrs yrs, I’ve noticed when I wear sneakers I have more confidence to even take the next hesitating, halted step. A relief after so many years of STRESS. Cheers to you and success in this wonderful pursuit. Thank you

  2. Lisa Rose says:

    I so wish I could be a part of this study. But living in Oregon, USA, I am too far away I am sure. Right now I am at a point that I don’t go out because I can only be sure of where I step is being barefoot! It is a giant part of the many frustra
    tions of my ms story.

  3. Brenda G. Avery says:

    I find this idea intriguing, but I am in Maine, USA, so too far away, plus I also have Essential Tremor, but I would love to hear the results! My husband and I go to the local YMCA to walk, and so far I am up to just over 1 1/2 mi. with hopes to get up to 2 miles. I have to hold my husbands hand, which is both a negative (I need his support for balance and so I won’t trip) and a positive (He has been my rock through all this neurological turmoil)!

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