Effectiveness of prefabricated and customized foot orthoses made from low-cost foam for noncomplicated plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009 Apr;90(4):701-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2008.11.002.


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of prefabricated and customized foot orthoses made from low-cost foam (ethylene vinyl acetate [EVA]) in plantar fasciitis.

Design: Double-blinded randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Public rehabilitation referral medical center.

Participants: One hundred forty-two adults (75% women) with plantar fasciitis, without anatomical alterations in the feet. Seventeen subjects (12%) were lost during the follow-up.

Interventions: Prefabricated and customized foot orthoses, both made from EVA, used for 8 weeks.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was pain (modified subscale of the Foot Function Index, [FFI] pain). The secondary outcomes were pain elicited by palpation in the medial calcaneal tuberosity and modified FFI total. Each participant was reviewed in the 4th and 8th weeks of follow-up.

Results: One hundred twenty-five participants returned to at least 1 of the follow-up evaluations (63 in the prefabricated and 62 in the customized groups). There was a significant improvement in both groups (P<.05), but there was no difference of modified FFI pain between intragroup differences at 4 (4.03 points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -4.2 to 12.3) and 8 weeks (3.93 points; 95% CI, -4.6 to 12.5).

Conclusions: The low-cost prefabricated and customized foot orthoses, as used in this trial, had similar effectiveness in the treatment of noncomplicated plantar fasciitis after 8 weeks of use. Our results were similar to other trials, although those trials did not use orthoses made from EVA. Thus, EVA prefabricated inserts may be the best choice for the treatment of plantar fasciitis without complication.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Confidence Intervals
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Equipment Design
  • Fasciitis, Plantar / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Polyvinyls


  • Polyvinyls
  • ethylenevinylacetate copolymer