Orthotics and Knee Pain


Knee pain is a very common issue, but not all types of knee pain are the same. In this article, we will discuss the most common types of knee pain and if orthotics can help manage the symptoms. Orthotics are shown to change the movement patterns of the knee, and this can be helpful in the management of pain. Anyone with the following medical conditions should see guidance from a licensed medical professional before using an orthotic to decrease pain.


Osteoarthritis is the reduction of cartilage in the knee. It is painful and often progresses with continued activity. Orthotics are proven to reduce pain and slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis. A wedge or post is usually added to an orthotic for people with osteoarthritis.


Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

This painful condition occurs around the kneecap due to damage to cartilage underneath the kneecap. When used in conjunction with other treatments under the guidance of a medical professional, orthotics can be used for decreasing pain and improving function for PFPS. 


Ligament injuries (ACL/MCL)

Orthotics are not proven to impact ACL/MCL injuries. 


Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

ITBS causes pain outside of the knee, thigh, and hip that commonly occurs in runners and jumper athletes. People with ITBS may also be diagnosed with bursitis. Orthotic therapy to improve the arch of the foot flattening has been shown to reduce the symptoms of ITBS when used alongside other treatments provided by a medical professional. 


Patellar tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis causes a sharp pain to occurs just below the knee cap. Orthotics haven't been shown to help or hurt patellar tendonitis. 

Depending on the specific type of knee pain you are experiencing, orthotics may help to reduce the pain and allow you to return to normal activity. 

Lack, S., Barton, C., Woledge, R., Laupheimer, M., & Morrissey, D. (2014). The immediate effects of foot orthoses on hip and knee kinematics and muscle activity during a functional step-up task in individuals with patellofemoral pain. Clinical Biomechanics29(9), 1056-1062.
Dodelin, D., Tourny, C., Menez, C., Coquart, J., & L’Hermette, M. (2018). Reduction of Foot Overpronation to Improve Iliotibial Band Syndrome in Runners: A Case Series. Clin Res Foot Ankle6(272), 2.
Butler, R., Marchesi, S., Royer, T., & Davis, I. (2007). The effect of a specific amount of lateral wedge on knee mechanics in patients with medial knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 25(9), 1121-1127.