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Millions in Potential Health Care Savings: Prefab Orthotics Found More Effective
Date:3/11/2009

nvolvement of a professional, which is why they are so expensive. On the other hand, prefabricated orthotics are designed to fit most common foot shapes, and should provide adequate arch support to relieve foot pain in 90% of the population". The studies described below give credibility to his statement:

An orthopedic research study organized by the San Francisco Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center of the University of California was conducted at fifteen orthopedic centers, treating 236 patients ages 16 or older, most with plantar fasciitis symptoms for a period of six months or less. The study randomized patients into five different treatment groups who performed Achilles tendon- and plantar fascia-stretching exercises in a similar manner. While one group was treated using stretching exercises only, the other four groups stretched and used one of four different types of shoe inserts: a silicone heel pad, a felt pad, a rubber heel cup, or a custom-made polypropylene orthotic device.

After 8 weeks of treatment, the ratio of patients who reported improvement in each group read as follows:

Prefabricated orthotics (3 types): 88%
Stretching only: 72%
Custom-made orthotics: 68%

The researchers summarized their findings by releasing the following statement: "We conclude that, when used in conjunction with a stretching program, a prefabricated shoe insert is more likely to produce improvement in symptoms as part of the initial treatment of proximal plantar fasciitis than a custom polypropylene orthotic device."

In another similar study in 1996, The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (
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