Foot shape and its effect on functioning in Royal Australian Air Force recruits. Part 2: Pilot, randomized, controlled trial of orthotics in recruits with flat feet

Mil Med. 2005 Jul;170(7):629-33. doi: 10.7205/milmed.170.7.629.


As part of a larger study of the effect of foot shape on functioning, 47 Royal Australian Air Force recruits with flexible flat feet who were embarking on a 10-week basic training course took part in a randomized controlled trial of orthotic therapy. In particular, recruits were assigned at random to an untreated group or a group that received Australian Orthotics Laboratory, three-quarter-length, flexible, shoe inserts. The groups were assessed at baseline and week 8. Outcome measures included pain, injury, foot health, and quality of life. The untreated group (n = 22) had a greater proportion of heavier recruits than did the treated group (n = 25). There were no significant differences in outcome measures at baseline. Only one-half of the group assigned to orthotic therapy wore the orthotics most or all of the time. At the end of the trial, although the results were not statistically significant, those who were provided with orthotics and wore them had the least lower limb pain and the best general foot health and quality of life. Notably, none of the recruits who wore their orthotics most or all of the time sustained a training injury.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry*
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Flatfoot / rehabilitation*
  • Foot / anatomy & histology*
  • Foot / physiopathology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Medicine*
  • Military Personnel*
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Risk
  • Treatment Outcome*