Background and objectives: Treatment of chronic running-related overuse injuries by orthopaedic shoe orthoses is very common but not evidence-based to date.
Hypothesis: Polyurethane foam orthoses adapted to subject’s barefoot plantar pressure distribution are an effective treatment option for chronic overuse injuries in runners.
Design: Prospective, randomised, controlled clinical trial.
Intervention: 51 patients with running injuries were treated with custom-made, semi-rigid running shoe orthoses for 8 weeks. 48 served as a randomised control group that continued regular training activity without any treatment.
Main outcome measures: Evaluation was made by the validated pain questionnaire subjective pain rating scale (SES), the pain disability index (PDI) and a comfort index in the orthoses group (ICI).
Results: There were statistically significant differences between orthoses and control group at 8 weeks for PDI (mean difference 3.2 (95% CI 0.9 to 5.5) and SES (6.6 (2.6 to 10.6)). The orthoses patients reported a rising wearing comfort (ICI pre 69/100, ICI post 83/100) which was most pronounced in the first four weeks (ICI 80.4/100).
Conclusion: Customised polyurethane running shoe orthoses are an effective conservative therapy strategy for chronic running injuries with high comfort and acceptance of injured runners.