Tell us more about yourself and the author team.
My name is Natalie Mazzella, and I am a Podiatrist and current PhD student in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University. Our research team comprises Physiotherapists and lecturers in Sports Sciences who are particularly interested in lower limb biomechanics, musculoskeletal lower limb injuries and the role of footwear. The research team have previously explored the biomechanical effects of flat, flexible footwear in adults with and without patellofemoral pain.
What is the story behind your study?
Patellofemoral pain is common in adolescents, yet there are limited treatment options. While attending school in Australia, adolescents must adhere to school footwear guidelines. More flexible footwear has been shown to reduce kneecap loading. Wearing a flat, flexible shoe at school could be an alternative management option for adolescents with patellofemoral pain. This study was the first step toward identifying alternative treatment options for adolescents with patellofemoral pain.
In your own words, what did you find?
We found that a school shoe could be a treatment option that warrants investigation in adolescents who have patellofemoral pain. The adolescents wore the shoes as prescribed, with minimal adverse events. The findings of our study support a future large-scale RCT investigating school footwear as an intervention for adolescents with patellofemoral pain.
What was the main challenge you faced in your study?
The primary challenge of our study was finding school shoes that were visually appealing to the students. I am sure this is a challenge common in studies involving adolescents.
If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?
There is a need to identify more treatment options for adolescents with patellofemoral pain. A school footwear intervention is a feasible treatment strategy in this cohort but requires further investigation.