Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Magnetic insoles do not provide pain relief

26.09.2005


Magnetic shoe insoles did not effectively relieve foot pain among patients in a study, researchers report in the current issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. And the results indicate that patients who strongly believed in magnets had pain relief even if they were given false magnets to wear.



"This study provides convincing evidence that use of these static magnets was not effective in relieving symptoms of nonspecific foot pain in the workplace," says Mark Winemiller, M.D., the lead author of the study and a Mayo Clinic physician.

Dr. Winemiller said adults with foot pain are likely to initiate self-treatment with magnets based on personal recommendations or belief systems, often without a specific diagnosis or prescription. That population was targeted in this study, he said, with the goal of determining whether magnetic insoles work in the way they are typically used. He said the randomized, double-blind nature of this study was chosen to minimize bias and maximize the validity of results, and he is confident that this was accomplished.


An interesting result in the study relates to "the placebo effect." Patients in studies who are given the placebo or false treatment often report improvement in their conditions when they believe they are receiving a treatment designed to provide relief. "A moderate placebo effect was noted in participants who believed the strongest in the potential of magnets to help their pain," says Dr. Winemiller.

Otherwise, the fact that magnetic and nonmagnetic insoles provided nearly identical pain relief suggests that it may have been simply the cushioning that was effective -- and not the magnets.

In the past decade, the use of magnets for pain relief has increased substantially. Despite little scientific evidence (and lack of Food and Drug Administration approval for pain relief), many people have used magnets to relieve their pain, spending approximately $5 billion worldwide -- an estimated $500 million in the United States annually -- on magnetic pain-relieving devices.

Magnetic devices use either static or pulsed magnets. Clinically, pulsed magnets have been shown effective for treating delayed fracture healing, for reducing pain in various musculoskeletal conditions, and for decreasing edema associated with acute trauma, although other studies have shown no benefit in these situations. Externally applied static magnets generally are considered safe and have few adverse effects, but little is known about their mechanism of action. Most basic scientific research has focused on movement of tiny electrical voltages that may lead to decreased pain.

The insoles studied were the Active Comfort magnetic insole (Spenco Medical Corp.), which has a magnetic foil pad located under the arch of the foot. These insoles were chosen because they are comfortably cushioned but do not have rigid arch support or acupressure features, which potentially could confound results if such features provided an independent effect. The special set of false magnetic insoles also were produced by the manufacturer, using a nonmagnetized metal foil embedded identically in the foam insole material.

Along with Dr. Winemiller, Edward Laskowski, M.D., and W. Scott Harmsen of Mayo Clinic, collaborated on this study, as did Robert Billow, D.O., who is now with Northwest Orthopaedic Surgeons, Mount Vernon, Wash.

This project was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from the Spenco Medical Corp, Waco, Texas. Spenco was not involved in any way in the study design, data collection, data analyses, or data interpretation or in manuscript preparation, review or approval. Both the active and false magnetic insoles were provided at no charge directly from the manufacturer. None of the authors have any affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in the subject matter discussed in this article.

In an editorial in the same issue, Roger Fillingim, Ph.D., and Donald Price, Ph.D., of the University of Florida College of Dentistry in Gainesville noted how the placebo controls of the study was important.

"Placebo controls are extremely valuable for determining the efficacy of pain interventions," the authors write.

John Murphy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayoclinic.com
http://www.mayo.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>