Protalus makes shoe inserts or insoles. The complaint for this class action alleges that Protalus, LLC, Protalus USA, LLC, and Protalus Holdings, LLC makes false claims about these orthotics, claiming they can relieve a number of conditions and problems.
The class for this action is all persons who bougth Protalus insoles in the US on or after October 18, 2015. A Massachusetts Subclass has also been proposed for those who bought the insoles in Massachusetts.
According to the complaint, Protalus has “deceptively represented that by simply wearing Protalus Insoles in any type of footwear, consumers can obtain relief from pain and receive treatment from a myriad of common injuries such as neuropathy, plantar faxciitis, back pain, heel spurs, diabetic foot, high arches, blisters, heel pain, hammer toes, and swelling.”
On the Protalus website, in bold type, are the words, “Immediate Relief. Long Term Benefits. Guaranteed.” The complaint also quotes the website as saying that “we achieve … proven, lasting relief.” The company claims that the insoles work by correcting misalignment of the body and that “Our proven Tri-Planar technology aligns your body with every step you take.”
The complaint alleges that all of these representations are false. “To the extent that Protalus Insoles provide any pain relief or treatment or other benefits (which they do not), they do not provide any greater benefit than insoles costing substantially less.” The price of the insoles is $79.95 per pair, with some going for as much as $99.95, while other types of insoles go for between $10 and $30 per pair.
The complaint thus claims that customers “have paid a substantial premium price for a product that does not perform as claimed and advertised.”
Quoted in the complaint is Dr. Benno Nigg, who says that the idea that insoles “are supposed to correct mechanical alignment problems … does not hold up.” He says that “‘corrective’ orthotics do not correct so much as lead to a reduction in muscle strength.”
An article claims that Dr. Bernard Hamill says that “orthotics have little effect on kinematics … but they can have large effects on muscles and joints, often making muscles work as much as 50 percent harder…”
Another article says that Dr. Heather says that “foot orthotics often do not correct the underlying mechanical problems that cause the pain and dysfunction for which they are prescribed. In fact, orthotics can actually worsen the conditions they are meant to treat if they are worn too long…”