The Battle of the Orthotic: Standard VS Computer Matched – Which best aids the treatment of plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis (PR planter – fash – ee – eye – tus)

Plantar fasciitis is the bane of most athletes existence. Accounting for over 25% of runner’s foot injuries and the cause of an estimated one million visits per year to the doctors in the US; we decided that it is time to stamp out heel pain.The plantar fascia is the connecting flat band of tissue between your toes and heel bone; acting as a support for the arch of your foot. The plantar fascia is the connecting flat band of tissue between your toes and heel bone; acting as a support for the arch of your foot. When you strain your plantar fascia ligament, it gets weak, inflamed, and irritated, causing mass discomfort. It is typically the prevalent cause of heel injury.

Whom does Plantar fasciitis affect?

While the ailment is commonly found in runners and overweight individuals, 10% of the general population will also experience this pathology at least once in their lifetime. The majority of cases resolve within 10 months. Sadly, 10% of those affected develop chronic plantar fasciitis. It is believed that plantar fasciitis is a result of excessive tensile loading, worsened by particular characteristics of the legs.  Irregularities such as flat feet, uneven leg length, and tightness of calf muscles all contribute.

Treatment options for Plantar fasciitis

Thanks to technology over the years, the general public has developed a “microwave mentality”, where individuals crave immediate gratification, extending into medical relief expectations. Thankfully, there is a way to help with the pain. It is difficult to determine which singular therapy is the “best” solution due to numerous studies reporting multiple therapeutic approaches as efficient. Steroid injections are often effective in the short term although they have been shown to cause acceleration of further damage. A recent case investigated six athletes that have a rupture of the plantar fascia. It was recorded that five had previously received the injection. Less than 50% of patients suffering from with chronic heel pain are satisfied with the results of surgical intervention; which begs the question, what are the available alternatives? Instead of surgery, there is a number of non-invasive option available to suffers from heel pain. Stretching exercises are helpful when accompanied by the use of orthotics.


Orthotics for Plantar faciitis

An orthotic is simply a custom made insert fitted inside a shoe. They work by giving support to the foot, redistributing ground reaction forces, and realigning joints while walking, standing, or running. This reduces foot pronation, by preventing the chance for the foot to roll inwards and the possibility of arch collapse. There are a variety of soles available; from regular prefabricated versions to uniquely designed orthotics. The challenge with finding the right option lies with the standard option not providing enough support, and the custom options being costly. The ideal resolution is a product that fits in the middle. Thanks to the iStep pedobarograph scanner — a device used to measure weight distribution peculiarities and to study irregularities of gait — this is possible. The iStep is a product of Aetrex Incorporation who manufacture seven different types of orthotics; sport, dress, casual, low profile, heritage, memory foam, and customizable.   The scanner’s algorithm provides a pressure map image that allows the recommendation of an appropriate orthotic according to the recorded measurements. The scanner presents a sequential 1st choice, 2nd choice, and 3rd choice suggestion. These soles are designed to accommodate the comfort and the fitting of the orthotic into the user’s footwear.

Our research

There have been a series of trials carried out evaluating the effects of foot orthotics from a patient’s perspective. While we can see the medical benefits of the tailored solutions, there is a deficit of documented proof; we want to change that. Our hypothesis is that a hybrid orthotic determined by a pedobarograph is superior to a regular prefabricated orthotic, as the wearer will experience tailored support at a fraction of the price of custom fit soles. We want to challenge our thesis by putting our iStep scanner to the test. We are looking for volunteers to help us determine the results of the battle of the orthotics; the tailored VS the standard orthotic.


Who can participate and who cannot participate in this research?

To achieve this we are seeking help from anyone aged between 20 and 75 suffering with plantar fasciitis.
For consistent results, we cannot test you as part of the trial if you have any of the following;
1)       Having used an orthotic in the past or currently using one;
2)       Pain and deformity in the foot, unrelated to Plantar Fasciitis;
3)       Suffer from a serious health condition;
4)       Undergone any surgery in the last 6 months; or
5)       Undergone any surgery in the foot during their lifetime.
If the above does not apply to you and you would like to participate, please get in touch by filling in a few details

Click  here to read further information on this research