The effect of foot orthoses on balance, foot pain and disability in elderly women with osteoporosis: a randomized clinical trial

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Mar;52(3):515-22. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes300. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of insoles with medial arch support and metatarsal pad on balance, foot pain and disability in elderly women with osteoporosis.

Methods: This was a randomized controlled clinical trial. Ninety-four elderly women (>60 years) with osteoporosis in treatment in the outpatient clinic of the Rheumatology Division of UNICAMP were randomly assigned to an intervention group (IG) with foot orthoses or to a control group (CG) without orthoses. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the Timed Up and Go test (TUG), the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index (MFPDI) and a numeric pain scale (NPS) were assessed at baseline and after 4 weeks. The chi-squared test, Fisher's exact test and Mann-Whitney test were applied to compare baseline values between the two groups. Repeated measures of analysis of variance followed by Tukey's test for multiple comparisons and the contrast profile test were used to compare the longitudinal measures. For numeric variable relationship analysis, the Spearman correlation coefficient was used.

Results: The groups were similar at baseline. Only subjects from the IG displayed improvements in balance (both BBS and TUG), foot pain (NPS) and disability (MFPDI) (P < 0.001). Minor adverse effects were noted.

Conclusion: Foot orthoses were effective for improving balance and for reducing pain and disability in elderly women. Orthoses can be used as an adjuvant strategy to improve balance and to prevent falls in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Foot Orthoses*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / therapy*
  • Postural Balance*
  • Treatment Outcome