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Shoe Insoles No Rx for Back Pain: Study

Researcher says they may help some people, but not all

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- There's no evidence that shoe insoles prevent or ease back pain.

That's the conclusion of Israeli researchers who reviewed three studies of 2,061 people that compared customized and standard insoles to sham insoles or no treatment for back pain prevention.

The review authors also analyzed three small studies of 256 people that focused on the use of insoles for either prevention or treatment of back pain.

"Doctors and other health professionals should not recommend insoles for prevention of back pain or even for back pain treatment," said review lead author Tali Sahar, of the department of family medicine, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "Insoles might be beneficial for prevention or treatment of other disorders, but this was not the topic of our review."

The review findings, which appear in the current issue of The Cochrane Library journal, didn't surprise Dr. Paul Hecht, an orthopedic surgeon at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

He thinks insoles are "over-prescribed" but does recommend them to cushion the foot.

"I will use them for certain indications but not for back pain," Hecht said. "Do they help some people? Yes. Do they help everybody? No."

More information

The National Pain Foundation outlines back and neck pain treatment options.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Oct. 16, 2007

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