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16 September 2009

Proprioceptive Insoles

The subject of Brian Rothbart and his so called proprioceptive insoles comes up often and my views have been well stated in the many heated threads on Podiatry Arena about him and the insoles.

I just want to make a number of things really clear:

  • I will start using the proprioceptive insoles tomorrow when the evidence tells me they work and there is a good rational for there use rather than an irrational approach. Despite claims by Brian Rothbart and his supporters there, is no evidence. I think that based on the current evidence we have on foot function, that the insoles are dangerous and work nothing better than a placebo. I am willing to change my mind if and when the data says otherwise. We keep getting promised the data – you can read about the randomised controlled trial that the USA Army was allegedly doing in an older thread on Podiatry Arena – where did that end up? Why has it not been published?
  • I have had clashes with Brian Rothbart in the past and that started when I criticised him for having the audacity to name a foot type after himself (who else has ever done that?). They continued with his self promotional activities. His extraordinary claims for a product he has a vested financial interest in. It also continues with the claims of the evidence, when the evidence is not there (even though he points to a lot of evidence to support it, but when you read and analyses the evidence, it does not actually support it). And it continues with the irrational responses to the evidence that does not support his work. Now he has self titled himself, ‘The Father of Chronic Pain Elimination ’.
  • I have no vested interest in this one way or the other. I go where the evidence takes me (evidence that has been critically evaluated). Those that know me and have been to a Boot Camp, know that and know that I am equal opportunity when to come to evaluating theories, evidence and products (see comments in the Feed Back).
  • I suggest people read and digest the threads at Podiatry Arena on Proprioceptive insoles and make your own mind up.

Take this thread as an example:

Vertical Facial Dimensions Linked to Abnormal Foot Motion
The thread started with a post on some new research from the UK distributor of the proprioceptive insoles (but they do not declare that financial interest). A number of questions were asked about the research which never get answered. Can you see that in the thread? The research was challenged. Instead of defending the research and answering the questions, Brian Rothbart skates around it and then emailed all his contacts about him being criticised and encouraged them to come to his defence. What happen next was extraordinary. Notice how they all posted testimonials about him, but despite the repeated asking for the questions about the research to be answered, not one of them actually answered the questions. Judge for yourself, read the thread. Some of the comments made were just plain silly (and a number were made from people who have a vested financial interest in the product, but did not declare that interest!). Notice the irrational responses to rational questions. I just wish some members of the fan club could explain why they think that there should be blind faith in the approach and no critical appraisal?

Read the other threads: notice how none of the questions asked about the approach get a direct answer; notice how references are given to research to defend the approach – go and look at that research and it does not support what is being said; or the article or abstract referenced cannot be found; or the research is only published in abstract form and does not include enough information to make sense of it! Notice how research is cited and how often it does not say what it is claimed to say, or the results are twisted or presented in such away to support claims, when they actually do not.

I have had hate mail from Brian Rothbart’s supporters (which on it own says a lot about them); some are about playing the man and not the ball. I do admit that that does happen in some of the threads at Podiatry Arena, but that only happens out of frustration about the irrational responces to question; because of the failure to answer questions about the approach; the use of 'snake oil' tactics to promote the product; because of the misrepresentation of the research; and the extraordinary claims in the face of the lack of the evidence. Are the supporters so blind that they cannot see this? How can there be a rational discussion with people with blinkers on?

Craig Payne


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