PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate whether textured insoles can improve gait in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
RELEVANCE: Previous studies have shown that footwear, including textured insoles, may improve postural stability in healthy young and older adults and there is some evidence to show that footwear interventions may be beneficial for people with MS.
PARTICIPANTS: Forty-six people with MS (34 women), mean age (SD) 49 years (7), who reported that they were able to walk 100 m with or without resting with the use of one stick or crutch, participated in the study.
METHODS: Participants were randomized to one of two textured insole groups: texture A (Algeos UK Ltd, Liverpool, UK) or texture B, a commercial insole (Crocs™, Den Haag, The Netherlands). Participants conducted baseline walking tests at their preferred speed along an instrumented walkway (GAITRite) in a laboratory setting, and temporal-spatial gait parameters were extracted. Participants then wore the insoles for two weeks and returned for repeat testing. Paired t-tests were used to evaluate changes between baseline and follow-up.
RESULTS: Stride length increased between baseline and follow-up in both legs in group A (left p = 0.01, right p = 0.02) and group B (left p = 0.02, right p = 0.02). Velocity and cadence did not change significantly in either group.
DISCUSSION: This finding that textured insoles can produce improvements in stride length requires further investigation. It is consistent with research on foot orthoses in MS showing an improvement in balance after four weeks of wear.
"I'm no neuro but strikes me as a suck and see approach would work to see if there is benefit to be had. The study does have face validity, or in other words makes sense. I wonder if the NHS will pay for the insoles."