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Despite improvements in working conditions, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) still play an important role in occupational health. Apart from the well-known association between MSD and physical risk factors, a potential association between MSD and safety shoes is still under scrutiny. The improvement of safety shoes could be a way of preventing musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, the aim of this study was to review established data for effects of safety shoes on the musculoskeletal system.
A key-word-based literature research in a number of databases was used to address the scientific question.
The main emphases of the studies involving safety shoes were: determination of accuracy of fit by measurement of the foot size, the investigation of cushioning shoe components by plantar pressure distribution measurements and surveys of physical discomfort caused by wearing safety shoes. Studies involving normal shoes have demonstrated effects of shoes on the musculoskeletal system by measurements of the body angles. The shoes produced angular changes in the lower extremities, especially in the ankle.
The question as how to safety shoes can influence the musculoskeletal system under real working conditions and whether they can be a preventive instrument to avoid MSD still remains unanswered.