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Effectiveness of foot orthoses and shock-absorbing insoles for the prevention of injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Abstract

Objective To investigate the evidence relating to the effectiveness of foot orthoses and shock-absorbing insoles for the prevention of musculoskeletal injury.

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness of foot orthoses and shock-absorbing insoles for the prevention of injury.

Data sources Cochrane Library, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus from their inception up to the first week of June 2016.

Results 11 trials that had evaluated foot orthoses and 7 trials that had evaluated shock-absorbing insoles were included. The median Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) score for trials that had evaluated foot orthoses and shock-absorbing insoles was 5 (range 3–8/10) and 3 (range 1–7/10), respectively. Meta-analysis found that foot orthoses were effective for preventing overall injuries (risk ratio (RR) 0.72, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.94) and stress fractures (RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.76), but not soft-tissue injuries (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.14). In contrast, shock-absorbing insoles were not effective for preventing overall injuries (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.16), stress fractures (RR 1.15, 95% CI 0.57 to 2.32) or soft-tissue injuries (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.15).

Conclusions Foot orthoses were found to be effective for preventing overall injuries and stress fractures but not soft-tissue injuries, while shock-absorbing insoles were not found to be effective for preventing any injury. However, further well-designed trials will assist the accuracy and precision of the estimates of risk reduction as the quality of the included trials varied greatly.

  • Orthotics
  • Overuse injury
  • Injury prevention
  • Sporting injuries
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