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Foot Orthoses for Plantar Fasciitis Can Help Pain

But improvements in pain and function can be lost after one year of use

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Foot orthoses can improve pain and function from plantar fasciitis in the short term, but the effects don't seem to last over the course of a year, according to a report in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Since previous studies testing foot orthoses on plantar fasciitis have not used a sham control, Karl B. Landorf, Ph.D., from La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, and colleagues conducted a participant-blinded trial where 135 patients with plantar fasciitis were randomized to receive either prefabricated orthoses of firm foam, customized orthoses of semirigid plastic, or a sham made of soft, thin foam. Subjects were followed for one year.

Within three months, pain and function scores improved in those receiving prefabricated and customized orthoses compared with sham, although only functional improvements were significant. There were no significant differences at the 12-month follow-up, however.

"This trial shows that commonly prescribed customized and prefabricated orthoses produce small short-term benefits for people with plantar fasciitis compared with a sham device," according to the authors. "Long-term effects on pain and function are negligible. The effects of prefabricated and customized orthoses are similar."

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