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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Oct;84(10):1564-7.

Customized heel pads and soft orthotics to treat heel pain and plantar fasciitis.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care, Toronto, ON, Canada.


We describe the design of a new cost-effective, comfortable orthotic designed to treat heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis. The heel pad is fabricated from a 4 degrees Sorbothane medial wedge with a customized insertion of low-density Plastazote. The orthotic is medium-density Plastazote reinforced with cork in the medial longitudinal arch. One pair of orthotics takes less than 1 hour to make. Pilot data were collected retrospectively to evaluate the efficacy of the orthotic for reducing pain. Ten clients at a hand and foot orthotic clinic with a mean age of 71+/-9.1 years and with unilateral or bilateral heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis were provided with customized heel pads and soft, molded orthotics at their initial visit. Pain levels were recorded with verbal and Likert-type scales. After 5 weeks of heel pad and orthotic use, all patients showed a reduction in pain, with the overall reduction being highly significant (P</=.0001). Customized heel pads and soft molded orthotics are an effective first-line treatment for the heel pain and loss of function associated with plantar fasciitis.

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