The efficacy of foot orthoses in the treatment of individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome: a systematic review

Sports Med. 2010 May 1;40(5):377-95. doi: 10.2165/11530780-000000000-00000.


Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a highly prevalent condition, often reducing functional performance and being linked to osteoarthritis development later in life. Prescribing foot orthoses is often advocated, although the link between foot mechanics and PFPS development remains unclear. This systematic review was conducted to summarize and critique the existing evidence for the efficacy of foot orthoses in individuals with PFPS and to provide guidance for future research evaluating foot orthoses in individuals with PFPS. A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and Current Contents revealed 138 citations for review. Two of the authors independently reviewed and assessed each citation for inclusion and quality using a modified version of the quality assessment scale for randomized controlled trials in PFPS designed by Bizzini and colleagues. A total of seven studies were included in the final review. The review found limited evidence that prefabricated foot orthoses may reduce the range of transverse plane knee rotation and provide greater short-term improvements in individuals with PFPS compared with flat inserts. Findings also indicated that combining physiotherapy with prefabricated foot orthoses may be superior to prefabricated foot orthoses alone. Further research is now needed to establish the mechanisms behind the efficacy of foot orthoses and to identify individuals with PFPS who are most likely to benefit from prescription of foot orthoses. A comparison of the efficacy between prefabricated and customized foot orthoses is also needed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / therapy*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recovery of Function
  • Treatment Outcome