Are Pricey Orthotic Insoles Worth It for Heel Pain?

Products that claim health benefits with thin or absent data to support such claims are nothing new. In the case of customized inserts for those suffering from orthopedic pain, new research is peeling back these claims to find they’re nothing more than marketing copy. Researchers compared the customized inserts, which carry hefty price tags, to generic over-the-counter shoe inserts that cushion the foot against impact. The data shows there is no difference in patient outcomes; that the inexpensive shoe inserts provide just as much protection against conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

Some activities, lifestyles, or jobs definitely call for a lot of use and abuse on the participant’s feet. From athletes to those who stand for hours at a time on the job, or even patients whose body weights increases the stress on their feet, some feet are called upon to take more than perhaps other feet might. Sometimes this increased loading can manifest in pain, and that’s when people start looking for ways to reduce it.

Doctors have sometimes suggested patients get arch supports, orthoses, that increase the support for the feet to reduce the load on the normal points in the foot that take it. Patients can save themselves the hundreds of dollars and just go to the grocery store for a simple package of cushioned insoles for the same results.

Key Points:

  • 1Expensive orthotic shoe inserts were shown to be no more effective than store bought inexpensive ones for managing plantar fasciitis.
  • 2Proper stretching and exercise is usually enough to manage plantar fasciitis pain however, most people do not stretch correctly.
  • 3Another option to help with plantar fasciitis pain is to wear a night splint to bed in order to keep the foot flexed and muscles stretched.


People who put a lot of “wear and tear” on their feet are more prone to the condition, according to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS).
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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