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Plantar heel pain: should you consult a general practitioner or a podiatrist?
  1. Hylton B Menz1,2,
  2. Matthew P Cotchett1,2,
  3. Glen A Whittaker1,2,
  4. Shannon E Munteanu1,2,
  5. Karl B Landorf1,2
  1. 1Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Hylton B Menz, Discipline of Podiatry, School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia; h.menz{at}latrobe.edu.au

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In British Journal of Sports Medicine, Rasenberg and colleagues1 report the findings of the Soles as Treatment Against Pain in feet (STAP) randomised trial comparing the effectiveness of usual general practitioner (GP) care to referral to a podiatrist for custom insoles or sham insoles in 185 people with plantar heel pain.1 After 12 weeks, the usual GP care group reported less pain during activity compared with the custom insole group (assessed using an 11-point Numerical Rating Scale), although this difference was small (less than one point) and did not meet the minimal clinically important difference for this outcome measure. Secondary outcomes favoured the GP group but were mostly small in magnitude. The authors concluded that referral to a podiatrist for custom insoles does not lead to better outcomes compared with usual GP care, and as such, healthcare providers should be ‘reserved’ in prescribing custom insoles for the treatment of plantar heel pain.

This is a generally well-designed pragmatic trial and the first to be undertaken in a primary care …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @hyltonmenz, @GlenAWhittaker, @karllandorf

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

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests HBM, GAW, SEM and KL have been investigators on trials that have evaluated foot orthoses, which have been supplied for free or at a reduced cost.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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