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Good news Afoot

Formthotics foam foot insoles are significantly more cost effective than hard plastic orthotics, a landmark Australian study has found.

At La Trobe University, in Melbourne, research was tested on New Zealand-made Formthotics against the expensive hard custom foot orthotics generally favoured by podiatrists.

To the surprise of the researchers, Formthothics were up to 20 percent better than the more expensive hard plastic inserts at fixing heel pain.

It was always believed that costly hard custom foot orthotics were more effective but this had never been scientifically proven. Formthotics cost foot sufferers $60 compared to more than $300 for rigid custom devices.

Christchurch-based Foot Science International (FSI), the company that makes Formthotics, was thrilled with the study’s independent findings.

Leading New Zealand sports stars Claudia Riegler, Steve Gurney, Richard Hadlee and many All Blacks have used Formthotics to recover from heel or foot injuries.

Formthotics medical director Charlie Baycroft said heel pain was a common problem that affected one in 10 people worldwide.

``The study outcome was just released last week and it might have been a surprise to its authors but it wasn’t for us. We have always known how effective Formthotics are just as top sports people and walkers all over the world have discovered,’’ Dr Baycroft said.

``The results of this research apply only to Formthotics and not to any other brands of shoe inserts,’’ he said.

“Formthotics cost much less than hard plastic customised orthotics and are usually just as effective.”

La Trobe researcher Dr Karl Landorf said the study examined short and long-term effectiveness of orthotic insoles in the treatment of 135 patients with heel pain.

The result showed that Formthotics and hard custom orthotics produce similar short-term benefits for people with heel pain but that Formthotics were significantly less expensive.

Formthotics were chosen for the study because they are the most frequent alternative to rigid orthotics prescribed by Australasian podiatrists.

They were invented in 1979 and are now exported to more than 25 countries for sports and health professionals.

Multi-sport champion Steve Gurney says Formthotics provide advantages of better shock absorbency and comfort due to the custom moulding process.

``I wouldn't race without them," says the record nine-time Speight’s Coast-to-Coast winner.

World Cup champion skier Claudia Riegler said she had been using Formthotics longer than she cared to remember.

`I've always used Formthotics because they make the boots fit better. Unlike many of the other racers, my feet are still in good shape. I wouldn't ski, or run, or walk without them."


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