This particular article was inspired by a study conducted in Korea. You can read the full study here: Piriformis Syndrome in Knee Osteoarthritis Patients after Wearing Rocker Bottom Shoes

As you can see, the study was conducted on patients who were wearing Rocker bottom shoes, due to leg or foot problems (including knee osteoarthritis), who also had Piriformis syndrome.

What Are Rocker Bottom Shoes?

RBS are basically shoes with thick soles and a rounded heel. The idea behind this sole is to avoid flat footing along the distal axis of the foot, relieve pain and replace the lost function in the joints.

There are two main types of these shoes, based on the location of the rocker:

  1. Forefoot Rocker and
  2. Heel to Toe Rocker

Forefoot Rocker

Here, the rocker is moved towards the front of the foot (as the name suggests). Since the rocker is placed just behind the metatarsal heads, it can significantly reduce the pressure to the ball of the foot and reduce motion in the big toe joint.

Naturally, this type of shoes is used for treating arthritis in the big toe joint or conditions where ball of foot is painful.


Heel To Toe Rocker

The sole on these shoes is curved both at the heel and metatarsal heads, as you can see on the image below. They are designed to limit motion in the ankle joint and motion in midfoot.


Even though most researchers gave these shoes some support, there are those who think that the benefits of RBS are a bit exaggerated. They are saying that:

  • These shoes won`t help people with knee or hip problems
  • That they will also not be of much help with back problems and
  • That their benefits will be only temporary since the muscle of the leg will adapt to this change they make 1

RBS and Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition where the sciatic nerve is compressed by the Piriformis muscle. If you wish to find out more about this condition, read one of our previous articles HERE.

Time to go back to the study we mentioned at the beginning of the article.

So, the study consisted of 150 individuals with Piriformis syndrome, who wore RBS daily for at least 6 months. Patients were divided into two groups, first group stopped wearing these shoes, while the other continued. Both groups were further divided into two groups – people with and without knee osteoarthritis.

PS was treated with piriformis muscle injections and  at home exercise program during a 12-week follow-up.

The results showed that wearing rocker bottom shoes may prolong the duration of PS in patients with knee osteoarthritis.