Plantar heel pain is a common reason for referral to podiatric practice, and one of the key interventions is the use of orthoses. The aim of the present study was to compare the clinical efficacy of bespoke, casted foot orthoses and prefabricated foot orthoses for plantar heel pain. People with plantar heel pain were included if, following initial assessment, foot orthoses were indicated and participants received either bespoke, casted foot orthoses or prefabricated semi-rigid orthoses (Powerstep™). Clinical efficacy was assessed at eight weeks using the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Questionnaire (MFPDQ). A total of 67 patients completed the trial and at baseline there were no appreciable differences in the two groups of patients in terms of the MFPDQ score; however, at eight weeks post-treatment both had significantly reduced foot pain and disability (both p<0.0001). There was no significant difference in effectiveness between the bespoke or prefabricated orthoses. However, prefabricated devices were 38% cheaper per patient compared with the average costs of casted devices. For most patients with plantar heel pain, prefabricated semi-rigid insoles such as the Powerstep™devices used in the present trial provide short-term benefit equivalent to that of bespoke, casted foot orthoses, but at considerably reduced costs.
- Heel pain