New research suggests that orthotic shoe inserts could play a big role in providing pain relief for individuals suffering from heel pain. In fact, in some instances, the prefabricated versions may be just as effective as the expensive custom-designed versions.
Treating Heel Pain
Heel pain is one of the most common sources of chronic foot pain, as research suggests about five percent of the population is plagued by the condition, and it’s even more common in athletes and the elderly. Poor footwear choices often contribute to the onset of foot pain, and that includes not wearing a shoe with ample foot support. We understand that your favorite pair of shoes may not have a very cushioned sole, but if that’s the case, consider investing in an orthotic insert.
A recent study decided to take a closer look at the effectiveness of orthotic inserts for managing and treating heel pain. For the study, researchers analyzed data from 19 previous studies involving 1,660 participants. After looking at the data, researchers found evidence that orthotic shoe inserts worked better than sham inserts at reducing pain after people had worn them for more than two months. They also found that custom orthotics were slightly better at easing pain than prefabricated versions, but they agreed that this evidence was not very strong, so patients could opt for the cheaper prefabricated versions.
“Our finding that foot orthoses can effectively reduce pain suggests that they are a valid treatment option for plantar heel pain,” said lead study author Glen Whittaker, a podiatry researcher at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia. “Furthermore, because we found that contoured prefabricated foot orthoses are as effective for plantar heel pain as customized foot orthoses, prefabricated foot orthoses should be used initially rather than customized foot orthoses because they cost less and are immediately available.”
How Orthotic Inserts Work
There are two main ways that orthotic shoe inserts help to prevent heel pain. For starters, shoe orthotic inserts help to reduce heel pain by redistributing pressure away from the bottom of the heel to the arch of the foot. Secondly, shoe inserts can help to prevent the patient’s foot arch from dropping, which can relieve pressure in the plantar fascia, a common contributor to most cases of heel pain.
Researchers also noted that orthotic shoe inserts are only one piece of the puzzle, and patients should combine them with other treatment options, like physical therapy, shoe modification and anti-inflammatory medications. So if you are dealing with heel pain, consider grabbing some orthotic inserts to go along with some other treatment options to try and keep heel pain at bay. If you’re still struggling with heel pain and nothing seems to work, reach out to Dr. Silverman by phone or in the contact box below.