Magnetic insoles shown to be ineffective at relieving bunion pain

Researchers discover that magnetic insoles that are sold to alleviate foot pain stemming from bunions or other conditions are largely ineffective.

Magnetic insoles shown to be ineffective at relieving bunion painMayo Clinic scientists have found that individuals who seek relief from their bunion, hammer toe or plantar fasciitis pain in magnetic insoles may be out of luck, since the devices were only shown to have a mild placebo effect in a clinical trial. 

Study participants were assigned to wear either an insole with a magnetic coil inside, or a normal insole which they were told had a magnetic charge. They were also surveyed on whether they believed that magnets could be effective in eliminating pain.

The researchers found that both insoles provided the same amount of pain relief in people who were ambivalent about the healing powers of magnets, likely due to the extra cushioning they provided.

However, they also observed that the power of belief may have helped to ease discomfort.

"A moderate placebo effect was noted in participants who believed the strongest in the potential of magnets to help their pain," said lead author Mark Winemiller, M.D.

The only way to reduce discomfort from bunions or hammer toe is to correct the deformities. Bunion splints or orthotics may promote healing, while also helping users avoid the need for bunion surgery

 

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