To determine characteristics of footwear worn by people with systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Twenty-two people with SLE and twenty matched healthy controls participated in a cross-sectional study. Objective assessments of footwear included: fit, style, structure, motion control, cushioning, and wear. Footwear was classified as poor, average or good based on a standardised tool. Participants completed 100mm visual analogue scales for foot pain and footwear comfort and suitability. Participants with SLE were asked to indicate which footwear features were important to them using a validated checklist.
No differences were observed between groups for footwear fit, age, style, heel height, forefoot flexion or cushioning (all P>0.05). Compared to controls, a greater number of participants with SLE wore shoes with worn tread (65% vs. 91%, P=0.041), wore shoes with a lower motion control scale (median: 5.0 vs. 1.0, P=0.003), and rated their footwear as less comfortable (median: 90mm vs. 78mm, P=0.024) and less suitable (median: 88mm vs. 76mm, P=0.030). Participants with SLE experienced greater foot pain than controls (median: 17mm vs. 0mm, P=0.038). Comfort (95%), fit (95%) and style (86%) were identified as the most important footwear features by people with SLE.
Compared to control participants, people with SLE wear shoes that are more worn and lack motion control. They also report greater foot pain and report their shoes to be less comfortable and suitable. These findings highlight the need for a further focus on the role of footwear in the management of foot problems in people with SLE.