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Little Evidence Shock-Absorbing Insoles Prevent Injury, Fracture

But custom-made foot orthotics might help, researchers report

foot x-ray

TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- While shock-absorbing insoles may not help prevent injury, there is some evidence that foot orthotics are effective for the prevention of some injuries like stress fractures and shin pain, according to a review published online Dec. 5 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Daniel Bonanno, a lecturer in podiatry in the College of Science, Health, and Engineering at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues analyzed 11 trials that evaluated orthotics and seven trials that evaluated shock-absorbing insoles.

The main findings of the review were that foot orthotics seemed to help prevent overall injuries, shin pain, and some stress fractures of the foot and leg. Shock-absorbing insoles, however, did not. Specifically, foot orthotics were associated with a reduced risk of overall injury of 28 percent, and stress fracture of 41 percent. However, they did not lower the incidence of tendon or muscle injuries, or knee and back pain, the researchers said. Shock-absorbing insoles didn't lessen the risk of any type of injury. And one trial suggested they might even increase the risk of injury.

"Foot orthoses were found to be effective for preventing overall injuries and stress fractures but not soft-tissue injuries, while shock-absorbing insoles were not found to be effective for preventing any injury," the authors write. "However, further well-designed trials will assist the accuracy and precision of the estimates of risk reduction as the quality of the included trials varied greatly."

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