For millions of Americans who want relief from heel pain, over-the-counter pads that sell for $10 or so work better than custom-made shoe inserts that cost hundreds of dollars, a study found.
Starting treatment with over-the-counter pads could save more than $200 million a year, said study director Dr. Glen Pfeffer, head of the San Francisco Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center.
The results were described Tuesday by Dr. Carol Frey, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Southern California and a study coauthor, at a presentation sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
The study was financed by companies that make the three overthe-counter pads used in the study and by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society.
The researchers emphasized that the study dealt only with pain relief gained during the first eight weeks of a treatment that can take a year. The study focused on plantar fasciitis, the major cause of heel pain.