A recent article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which looked at 18 different studies in regards to this specific topic found that foot orthotics:
- Reduced injury risk by 28% overall
- Decreased the risk of having a lower extremity stress fracture by 41%
- Stress fracture of tibia = decreased by 35%
- Stress fracture of femur = decreased by 47%
- Stress fracture of metatarsals (bones in ball of the foot) = decreased by 75%
- Reduced the risk of getting shin pain by 73%
- However, the use of orthotics did not reduce the risk of suffering soft tissue injuries
- No reduction in risk of achilles tendon injuries
- No reduction in risk of low back pain
- No reduction in risk of knee pain
The literature would suggest that orthotics are helpful in reducing injuries, more specifically stress fractures (to bones), but does not seem to be helpful in reducing injury risk of other conditions that orthotics are commonly used preventatively for.
Therefore, while the use of orthotics does reduce the risk of injury, it is important to highlight that it is a very specific type of injury, not all conditions.