Pictures: Conny Kurz, Bauerfeind
A significant reduction in
Foot orthosis care for plantar fasciitis
Use of a foot orthosis is part of the standard treatment for heel pain and talalgia on
the sole of the foot. Prof. Markus Walther, Medical Director and Head Physician at
the Center for Foot and Ankle Surgery at the Schön Klinik München Harlaching, led a
study* to investigate different foot orthosis concepts, including the professional heel
Professor Walther, what motivated you to
carry out this study?
Heel pain and talalgia is a
fairly major epidemiological problem. Among
year olds alone, we can assume that
almost half will experience heel pain once a
year – usually because of plantar fasciitis.
In this disorder, the band of connective tis
sue in the sole of the foot becomes inflamed
at the site where the plantar fascia attaches
to the bone. This is because the fascia loses
elasticity over the course of a person’s life.
It is easiest to picture it like this: you swap
an elastic bungee rope for a steel rope and
jump. When the rope is fully unwound, there
is a loud bang, because the tension is built
up suddenly and there is no soft cushioning.
In affected patients, there is a massive strain
on the attachment site of the fascia to the
bone and it begins to tear away or become
Pressure on this structure can be relieved by
using a foot orthosis. Simple foot orthosis
concepts only aim to cushion the hindfoot
to reduce the maximum pressure during the
heel strike. However, with a hindfoot frame
and medial support, combined with a spe
cially designed recess for the affected struc
tures, supplementary mechanical pressure
relief can be achieved. For a long time, this
Director and Head
The professional heel’s particular characteristic is its construction and its special orthotic core.
foot orthosis made from PU foam available
online (A), and two branded products and
the professional heel by Bauerfeind (C). The
professional heel is a multi-layer, cushioned
orthotic blank with a self-supporting syn
thetic core and a central heel cut-out with
a plantar fan design. 30 patients from an
orthopedic traumatology practice in Middle
was only possible with custom-made foot
orthoses. We now wanted to investigate the
extent to which industrially pre-fabricated
foot orthoses could achieve a similar effect.
How did you do this?
In our randomized pro
spective study we compared a thin cushion
Microfiber top cover
Cushion layer with