Objective: To compare the effects of semi-rigid and soft orthoses worn in supportive shoes, and supportive shoes worn alone, on metatarsal phalangeal (MTP) joint pain. MTP joint synovitis, and lower extremity function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods: Twenty-eight subjects referred to occupational therapy received in random order 3 interventions for 12 week trials, separated by 2 week washouts. A crossover design compared effectiveness of interventions.
Results: Twenty-four subjects completed the study. A reduction in mean pain scores from baseline to final visits showed that semi-rigid orthoses had a highly significant effect on pain. Soft orthoses did not show a significant effect on pain from baseline to final visit, nor did shoes worn alone. None of the interventions had a significant effect on synovitis or function.
Conclusion: Semi-rigid orthoses worn in supportive shoes were an effective treatment for metatarsalgia. Supportive shoes worn alone or worn with soft orthoses did not provide pain relief for metatarsalgia.