Epidemiological studies consistently report a 90% prevalence of foot pain. Mechanical and other non-pharmacological interventions such as orthoses and footwear can play an important role in managing foot pathology in patients whose systemic disease is controlled. The effectiveness of treatment with insoles has been examined in various randomised controlled trials, which have reported immediate clinical improvements, with reduced foot pain and disability and enhanced functionality. The aim of this systematic review is to determine the effectiveness of foot orthoses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in comparison with other treatments, in terms of enhanced disability and reduced pain.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted of a number of randomised controlled trials focusing on patients with RA. The search was conducted in Cochrane, CINAHL, PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS and Cuiden, by means of an independent peer review. The Mesh terms and fields used were foot, ankle, joint, RA, foot, orthosis, insole and foot orthosis.
Of the initial 118 studies considered, 5 were included in the final systematic review and meta-analysis. These five studies had enrolled a total of 301 participants, with follow-up periods ranging from 4 to 36 months. Although the use of orthoses seems to alleviate foot pain, our meta-analysis did not reveal statistically significant differences between control and intervention groups regarding long- and short-term pain relief and/or reduced disability.
Foot orthoses can relieve pain and disability and enhance patients, but no significant differences were found between control and intervention groups.