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Although assessment of passive maximum foot dorsiflexion angle is performed routinely, there is a paucity of information regarding adolescents’ foot and foot segment motion during this procedure. There are currently no trials investigating the kinematics of the adolescent foot during passive foot dorsiflexion.
A six-camera optoelectronic motion capture system was used to collect kinematic data using the Oxford Foot Model. Eight female amateur gymnasts 11 to 16 years old (mean age, 13.2 years; mean height, 1.5 m) participated in the study. A dorsiflexing force was applied to the forefoot until reaching maximum resistance with the foot placed in the neutral, pronated, and supinated positions in random order. The maximum foot dorsiflexion angle and the range of movement of the forefoot to hindfoot, tibia to forefoot, and tibia to hindfoot angles were computed.
Mean ± SD maximum foot dorsiflexion angles were 36.3° ± 7.2° for pronated, 36.9° ± 4.0° for neutral, and 33.0° ± 4.9° for supinated postures. One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance results were nonsignificant among the 3 groups (P = .70), as were the forefoot to tibia angle and hindfoot to tibia angle variations (P = .091 and P = .188, respectively). Forefoot to hindfoot angle increased with the application of force, indicating that in adolescents, the forefoot does not lock at any particular posture as portrayed by the traditional Rootian paradigm.
Participants had very flexible foot dorsiflexion, unlike those in another study assessing adolescent athletes. This finding, together with nonsignificant statistical results, implies that foot dorsiflexion measurement may be performed at any foot posture without notably affecting results. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(5): 394–399, 2013)