To investigate the immediate effects of textured insoles on balance and gait in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), and to explore any effects after 2 weeks of wear.
Within-session repeated-measures design with an exploratory follow-up period.
Hospital gait laboratory.
Forty-six individuals with MS (34 females, 12 males), with a mean (SD) age of 49 (7) years, who could walk 100m unassisted or using one stick/crutch.
Participants were tested wearing three types of insoles in a random order: control (smooth), Texture 1 (Algeos) or Texture 2 (Crocs™). Participants were allocated at random to wear one type of textured insoles for 2 weeks, after which they were retested.
Main outcome measures
Standing balance (centre of pressure excursions and velocity) was measured with eyes open and eyes closed on a Kistler force platform. Spatio-temporal parameters of gait were measured using a GAITRite system.
The textured insoles had no significant immediate effects on balance or gait, apart from an increase in anteroposterior sway range with eyes open for Texture 2 insoles [mean difference 4.5 (95% confidence interval 0.6 to 8.4)mm]. After 2 weeks, balance was not significantly different, but both types of textured insoles showed significant effects on spatio-temporal parameters of gait, with mean stride length increases of 3.5cm (Texture 1) and 5.3cm (Texture 2) when wearing the insoles.
After 2 weeks of wear, there were improvements in spatio-temporal parameters of gait. However, it is unclear whether this was a placebo effect or a learning effect.
Effect of textured insoles on balance and gait in people with multiple sclerosis: an exploratory trial; Physiotherapy - June 2014 (Vol. 100, Issue 2, Pages 142-149, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2013.06.003)