HealthDay News — Custom-made foot orthotics appear to be no better than over-the-counter insoles or other conservative treatments for heel pain, according to a review published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Nadine Rasenberg, from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials comparing foot orthotics to a control (defined as no intervention, sham, or another type of conservative treatment).

The researchers identified 20 studies investigating 8 different types of foot orthotics.

Pooled data from 6 studies showed no difference between prefabricated orthotics and sham orthotics for short-term pain. Similarly, there was no difference between sham orthotics and custom orthotics for short-term pain. Finally, there was no difference between prefabricated orthotics and custom orthotics for short-term pain.

“We conclude that clinicians should be reserved in prescribing foot orthoses in all patients with plantar heel pain and take factors like patient preference and adherence into account,” the authors write.

Reference

Rasenberg N, Riel H, Rathleff MS, Bierma-Zeinstra SMA, van Middelkoop M. Efficacy of foot orthoses for the treatment of plantar heel pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published online March 19, 2019]. Br J Sports Med. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-097892