Evaluating the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of foot orthoses in the treatment of plantar heel pain: a feasibility study

J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2004 May-Jun;94(3):229-38. doi: 10.7547/0940229.


This study evaluated the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two different types of foot orthoses used to treat plantar heel pain. Forty-eight patients were randomly assigned to receive either a functional or an accommodative orthosis. General (EuroQol) and specific (Foot Health Status Questionnaire) health-status measures were used. Data were also collected using economic questionnaires relating to National Health Service costs for podiatry, other health-service costs, and patient costs. Data were measured at baseline and at 4- and 8-week intervals. Thirty-five patients completed the study. The results demonstrated a significant decrease in foot pain and a significant increase in foot function with the functional foot orthoses over the 8-week trial. The accommodative foot orthoses demonstrated a significant reduction in foot pain only at 4 weeks. The cost-effectiveness analysis demonstrated that functional orthoses, although initially more expensive, result in a better quality of life. Use of functional orthoses resulted in an increased cost of pound 17.99 (32.74 dollars) per patient, leading to an incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year of pound 1,650 (3,003 dollars) for functional orthoses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Heel*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Orthotic Devices* / economics
  • Orthotic Devices* / standards
  • Pain Management*
  • Quality of Life
  • United Kingdom