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Research Article Open Access
Background: Foot pain is a non-specific complaint among individuals who stand for extended periods of time. Prefabricated inserts have been effective for increasing balance and managing pain. One manufacturer has developed a line of general inserts for that purpose. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a commercially available orthotic insert on balance, pain, and plantar foot pressures as well as to determine if enhancing balance may decrease pain.
Methods: Twenty-three subjects with at least 6 months non-specific foot pain participated and were issued a commercially available orthotic insert after screening. The Sensory Organization Test composite score was used to assess balance on the NeuroCom® Balance Manager SMART EquiTest. Foot Function Index (FFI) and Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) were used to assess pain. GAITRite was utilized to assess plantar foot pressures.
Results: Foot pain was decreased after one week with use of the commercially available orthotic insert. Increased balance scores were noted between day 1 without inserts and after day 7 of insert wear and also between day 1 with inserts and day 7. Decreases in pain were noted between pre balance testing without inserts (day 1) and after day 7 as well as immediately after balance testing with inserts (day 1) and day 7. Among the females, right lateromedial foot pressures increased from day 1 without inserts and immediately after the addition of inserts. An inverse relationship was observed between the NPRS and the composite balance scores after 1 week of insert wear.
Conclusions: Results indicate that a commercially available orthotic insert may be effective in managing foot pain and increasing balance after one week. Additionally, inserts appear to shift the right foot pressures from the predominately medial aspect of the foot to the lateral aspect of the foot for females but not males.
Balance, Foot pain, Orthotics, Foot pressures, Foot function index (FFI), Numeric pain rating scale (NPRS), Foot pain