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The effects of using a lateral wedge insole on knee loading during ascending and descending stairs

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research20125 (Suppl 1) :P11

  • Published:


  • Medial Compartment
  • Stair Climbing
  • Motion Capture System
  • Medial Knee
  • Knee Compartment


Stair climbing demands, as compared to walking level, a greater range of motion in the lower extremity accompanied by about six times more load on knee joint [1]. Consequently, pain while climbing stairs is the first complaint in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) [2]. The use of lateral wedge insoles aims to decrease medial knee compartment loading by reducing the peak external knee adduction moment (EKAM) during walking [4]. The purpose of this study is to assess the biomechanical effects of wearing lateral wedge insoles on EKAM during stair climbing in elders with and without knee OA.


Thirty healthy subjects (21 females, 9 males; age (45.7±5.6 years)) and eight patients with mild knee OA (5 females, 3 males; age (47.3±3)) participated in the study. Subjects performed five trials of step-over-step stairs ascent and descent. Two conditions were investigated: (a) control (Standard shoe) (b) 5 degrees Salford Insole lateral wedge (LW) insoles. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected for the lower extremity using a motion capture system (QTMTm) and two force plates (AMTI force platform stairway). Repeated measures ANOVA and Friedman’s ANOVA were used for statistical analysis.


During ascending stairs, LW significantly reduced the EKAM in early stance (p<.05) and the knee adduction angular impulse (KAAI) (p<.05). Similarly, the EKAM and KAAI had been significantly reduced (p<.05) while wearing LW during descending stairs. Both groups had significantly greater degree of subtalar eversion with LW than in the control condition (Table 1).
Table 1

1st EKAM peak, KAAI and Subtalar eversion angle results for healthy and OA Subjects during ascending (AS) and descending (DS) stairs.



Mean ± (SD)

Mean ± (SD)


Control (Healthy)

LW (Healthy)

Control (OA)


1st peak EKAM (Nm/Kg)


.385 (.15 )

.357 (.14)

.394 (.13)

.366 (.12)



.408 (.11)

.388 (.10)

.364 (.06)

.334 (.05)

KAAI (Nm/Kg/s)


.228 (.15)

.207 (.14)

.189 (.06)

.174 (.06)



.228 (.08)

.212 (.08)

.204 (.04)

.186 (.04)

Subtalar peak eversion (degrees)


-5.71 (2.4)

-6.1 (2.9)

-4.41 (.62)

-4.82 (.70)



-6.36 (2.3)

-7.06 (2.5)

-4.42 (1.2)

-5.11 (1.5)


Lateral wedge insoles consistently reduced the overall magnitude of EKAM during ascending and descending stairs which has been strongly correlated to decreasing medial compartment loading at the knee joint. Thus, these results give the first indication that that lateral wedge insoles may be useful in decreasing pain levels for patients with knee OA during stair climbing. Further long-term studies are warranted.

Authors’ Affiliations

Centre for Health Sciences Research, University of Salford, Salford, Greater Manchester, M6 6PU, UK


  1. Andriacchi TP, et al: A study of lower-limb mechanics during stair-climbing. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 1980, 62 (5): 749-PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Costigan PA, Deluzio KJ, Wyss UP: Knee and hip kinetics during normal stair climbing. Gait & posture. 2002, 16 (1): 31-37. 10.1016/S0966-6362(01)00201-6.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  3. Arden NK, et al: Osteoarthritis and risk of falls, rates of bone loss, and osteoporotic fractures. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 1999, 42 (7): 1378-1385. 10.1002/1529-0131(199907)42:7<1378::AID-ANR11>3.0.CO;2-I.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  4. Jones RK, et al: Does increased loading occur on the contralateral side in medial knee osteoarthritis and what impact do lateral wedges have on this?. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2011, S176-Suppl 1Google Scholar


© Alshawabka et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.