Effect of rocker soles on plantar pressures

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Jan;85(1):81-6. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(03)00374-5.


Objective: To examine the effect of different types of rocker soles on plantar pressures.

Design: In-shoe plantar pressures were measured in subjects without deformity with baseline shoes and 3 types of rockers: toe-only, negative heel, and double.

Setting: Medical college.

Participants: Forty healthy patients (20 men, 20 women) without foot deformity.

Interventions: Plantar pressures were recorded over a 2 1/2-hour test period with over 400 steps analyzed for each type of rocker sole. Peak pressures, pressure-time integral (PTI), and sensor contact duration were computed for each step.

Main outcome measures: Peak plantar pressure PTI, and contact duration were compared for each rocker with a baseline shoe.

Results: Significant reduction (P<.01) in peak pressure and PTI were recorded across the forefoot for all 3 rockers. The reduction of pressure at the forefoot was balanced by shifting pressure to the midfoot with the negative heel and toe-only rockers.

Conclusion: This study lends scientific credence to the prescription of rocker soles for patients who need forefoot pressure reduction, such as in diabetic neuropathy and possible ulceration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pressure
  • Shoes*