Saanichton Physical Therapy Blog

Foot Orthotic benefits

The impact of custom semirigid foot orthotics on pain and disability for individuals with plantar fasciitis.

Source: J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2002 Apr;32(4):149-57.

Division of Physical Therapy, Program in Human Movement Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-7135, USA. mtgross@med.unc.edu

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Single-group, pre-, and post intervention repeated measures design.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the impact of custom semi rigid foot orthotics on pain and disability for individuals with plantar fasciitis.

BACKGROUND:

Few studies have examined the efficacy of foot orthotics for plantar fasciitis, and no single study has yet examined the effects of semirigid foot orthotics on an established quality-of-life instrument.

METHODS AND MEASURES:

Eight men and 7 women (mean ages 44.7 +/- 9.0 years) who reported having plantar fasciitis symptoms for an average of 21.3 +/- 23.7 months participated in the study. Subjects were timed for a 100-m walk at a self-selected speed, then they rated the pain they experienced during the walk using a 10-cm visual analog scale. Subjects also completed the pain and disability subsections of the Foot Function Index questionnaire. All measures were acquired before the fabrication of custom semirigid foot orthotics and 12 to 17 days following onset of foot orthotic use.

RESULTS:

Postorthotic 100-m walk times were not significantly different (t = 0.39, P = 0.70) than preorthotic values. Postorthotic pain ratings (mean = 0.7 +/- 0.7) for the 100-m walk were significantly less than (Wilcoxon t = 1, P < 0.005) preorthotic pain ratings (mean = 3.0 +/- 1.7). Postorthotic Foot Function Index pain subsection ratings (Wilcoxon t = 0, P < 0.005) were significantly less than preorthotic ratings, demonstrating a 66% reduction in pain ratings. Postorthotic Foot Function Index disability subsection ratings (Wilcoxon t = 0, P < 0.005) were significantly less than preorthotic ratings, demonstrating a 75% reduction in disability ratings.

CONCLUSION:

Custom semirigid foot orthotics may significantly reduce pain experienced during walking and may reduce more global measures of pain and disability for patients with chronic plantar fasciitis.