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A Comparison of Rearfoot Motion Control and Comfort between Custom and Semicustom Foot Orthotic Devices

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  • 1 Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.
  • | 2 Hospital for Special Surgery, Leon Root, MD Motion Analysis Laboratory, New York, NY.
  • | 3 National Rehabilitation Hospital, Regional Rehab at Bethesda, Bethesda, MD.
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Background: Motion control and comfort are primary objectives in orthotic intervention. Semicustom orthotic devices have been presented as a more cost-effective solution than custom orthotic devices. However, no studies have compared their function or comfort to that of custom orthotic devices.

Methods: Nineteen uninjured runners were fitted for custom and semicustom orthotic devices. Subjects underwent an instrumented gait analysis of running and walking in no-orthotic, custom orthotic, and semicustom orthotic conditions. Subjects completed visual analog scales for the custom and semicustom orthotic conditions. One-way repeated measures analyses of variance were performed on the rearfoot variables of peak eversion, eversion excursion, eversion duration, and eversion velocity. Two-tailed, dependent t tests were used to compare comfort.

Results: Eversion excursion showed significant differences between the conditions: during running, it was reduced in the custom orthotic as compared to the no-orthotic condition; during walking, it was reduced in the semicustom orthotic as compared to both the custom and no-orthotic conditions. The custom orthotic devices were significantly more comfortable (P < .05) than the semicustom devices in the area of the edges only.

Conclusion: The results suggest that, in uninjured individuals, there are few differences in rearfoot motion control and comfort between the custom and semicustom orthotic devices used in this study. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(5): 394–403, 2008)

Corresponding author: Rebecca Avrin Zifchock, PhD, 510 E 73rd St, New York, NY 10021. (E-mail: becky_avrin@hotmail.com)