The purpose of this study was to explore individual’s perceptions of orthotics and footwear. A survey was created by the authors with the expert opinions of physical and occupational therapists and was distributed to two therapy clinics in Tennessee that provide both occupational therapy and physical therapy as well as on several online support groups. Seventy-nine (79) caregivers completed surveys. Thematic analysis was performed using Nvivo 10 (QSR International) and descriptive statistics were generated using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) IBM International). Ninety percent (90%) of participants report that orthotics affect what type of shoes the user can wear. Eighty-two percent (82%) report that it is difficult to shop for shoes that accommodate orthotics. Sixty-one percent (61%) report that the user would be more likely to wear their orthotics if they had more options of shoes to wear. Fifty-nine percent (59%) report that the user would be more likely to wear their orthotics if they had shoes that were more attractive. The importance of collaborating with consumers when designing products is essential for the success of both the individual and the product.

Author Bio(s)

  • Margaret Gegen, OTD, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist in Nashville, TN.
  • Dr. Nancy Darr, PT, DSc, NCS is a professor in the physical therapy department at Belmont University and a pediatric therapist in Nashville, TN. She is certified as a clinical specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.
  • Dr. Teresa Plummer, PHD, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS, CEAS is a professor in the occupational therapy department at Belmont University. She Dr. Plummer serves on the Editorial Board for Rehab Management and is a reviewer for the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. She has co-authored the RESNA position paper on Pediatric Power Mobility (2009).




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.