Can orthotic insoles prevent lower limb overuse injuries? A randomized-controlled trial of 228 subjects

  • V. M. Mattila, P.J Sillanpaa, T. Salo, H.-J. Laine, H Maenpaa, H. Pihlajamki
  • Scand J Med Sci Sports 2011: 21: 804 - 808

Review by Brent Brookbush MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

  • Dependent Variable: Rate of Injury
  • Independent Variable: Insole Use
  • Number of Patients: 220
  • Time Period: Injuries recorded during and post 9 months of Military Service
  • Statistics: Randomized Control Trial (physician and researchers unaware of insole study) Statistical significance determined using Cox’s Proportional Hazard Model
  • Outcomes: No statistical difference was found in the rate of lower leg overuse injuries between the 2 groups
  • Protocols: 228 recruits were independently examined by a physician upon entrance to military service.  Based on previous research and statistical analysis all but 8 recruits (who were currently using orthotics) were randomly assigned to experimental or control groups at a 1:2 ratio.

Reasons Why the Study Was Performed:

This study aimed to determine whether the use of custom orthotic insoles would reduce the rate of lower leg injuries.  This includes iliotibial band syndrome, tibial stress syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome, achilles tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, bursitis at the calcaneus, plantar fasciitis, and bone stress injury of the lower limb.  This research study cites a study by Kaufman et. al. that showed 20 – 50% of military conscripts sustain lower limb overuse injury during service.  As this study involved subjects currently serving in the military, it is likely that there is significant motive to improve their health and performance, and reduce the costs associated with diagnosis, treatment, and days of suspended service.  Although military service requires more physical activity than the general population is exposed to, lower limb injury is common among all populations exposed to physical stress.  This study may provide impetus to research more