Evaluation of the pressure-redistributing properties of prefabricated foot orthoses in older people after at least 12 months of wear Academic Article uri icon


  • Foot problems are highly prevalent in older people. To treat such problems in this age-group prefabricated ('off-the-shelf') foot orthoses are frequently prescribed. However, such devices are susceptible to material compression and deformation, which may reduce their effectiveness over time. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the pressure-redistributing properties of new prefabricated orthoses to orthoses worn for at least 12 months. Thirty-one adults (10 males, 21 females) aged over 65 years (mean 75.4, SD 5.2) participated. Plantar pressure data were collected under the rearfoot, midfoot and forefoot using the Pedar(®) in-shoe system while participants walked along an 8m walkway wearing shoes only, new orthoses and old orthoses (orthoses were full length, dual-density prefabricated Formthotic™ devices). Compared to the shoe-only condition, both the new and old orthoses produced significant reductions in peak pressure and maximum force in the rearfoot with corresponding increases in force and contact area in the midfoot. Compared to the new orthoses, the old orthoses exhibited small but significant increases in peak pressure in the rearfoot (6%, p=0.001) and maximum force in the rearfoot (5%, p<0.001) and forefoot (2%, p=0.032). These findings indicate that the prefabricated orthoses evaluated in this study are only slightly less effective at redistributing plantar pressure after at least 12 months of wear.

publication date

  • October 2011