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Should foot orthoses be used for plantar heel pain?
  1. Glen A Whittaker1,2,
  2. Shannon E Munteanu1,2,
  3. Hylton B Menz1,2,
  4. Karl B Landorf1,2
  1. 1 Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Glen A Whittaker, Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia; g.whittaker{at}

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The authors of this systematic review1 found that foot orthoses are not effective for plantar heel pain (when compared with sham devices) and suggest ‘that clinicians should be reserved in prescribing foot orthoses in all patients with plantar heel pain’. This finding is in contrast to a similar systematic review and meta-analysis that we recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that concluded foot orthoses are effective at reducing pain in those with plantar heel pain and that ‘health practitioners may consider using foot orthoses … but the reduction in pain may not be sufficient for some people’.2

The publication of these meta-analyses in the same journal, within a short time-period may create uncertainty for health practitioners regarding the effectiveness of foot orthoses for plantar heel pain. Furthermore, there may be a loss of trust by health practitioners and members of the public in the process of conducting and reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses, as reviews by different authors can arrive at contrasting findings. Therefore, it is important to provide context to the different conclusions reached in these meta-analyses in …

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  • Contributors All authors conceived, reviewed and approved the manuscript. GAW prepared the manuscript.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests All authors published a systematic review discussed in this editorial and have been investigators on trials that have evaluated foot orthoses, which have been supplied for free or at a reduced cost.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.