New Spanish Study shows Fascinating Results

Custom-made orthothics relieves heel pain more effectively than «off-the-shelf» heel-lifts

Researchers in Spain have conducted a randomized comparative effectiveness trial where they compare the effect of off-the-shelf heel-lifts and customized orthothics. The purpose was to blindtest a group of patients and measure the effect of the two treatment solutions. After a 12-week period, the study concluded that the customized orthothics had a higher effect on pain relief.


The inclusion criteria for the test group is a mix of boys and girls between 9-12 years old. To measure the level of pain in the children, they used the VAS-scale to compare the perception of heel pain in children with Sever’s disease using the two different treatment solutions (1: p. 2). The test group that used the custom-made orthothics had a change in pain perception of 88,4 % in the VAS-scale, whereas the group who used the off-the-shelf heel lift only changed their pain perception 19,2 % (1: p. 7). This shows that the custom-made orthothics has a significant effect on pain relief for Sever’s disease.

The strengths of the study is as written in the journal article: «participants and assessors were blinded, the sample size was sufficient to show reliable results, stratified randomization was performed in eight permuted blocks considered as important risk factors in calcaneal apophysitis pain, both groups (treatment A and B) were homogeneous, and the study provided consistent data about the use of custom-made foot orthoses for calcaneal apophysitis pain relief» (1: p. 8).

1. Alfaro Santafé J, Gómez-Bernal A, Lanuza-Cerzócimo C, Alfaro-Santafé J, Pérez-Morcillo A & Almenar-Arasanz A: Effectiveness of Custom-Made Foot Orthoses vs. Heel-Lifts in Children with Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever’s Disease): A CONSORT-Compliant Randomized Trial. Children 2021, 8, 963: 1-10.

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