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Effect of Excessive Body Weight on Foot Arch Changes in Preschoolers

A 2-Year Follow-up Study

Agnieszka Jankowicz-Szymanska State Higher Vocational School, Institute of Health Sciences, Tarnow, Poland.

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Edyta Mikolajczyk University of Physical Education, Department of Physiotherapy, Krakow, Poland.

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Background

A stable standing posture, and effective and aesthetic gait, depend heavily on correct anatomical construction of the feet, thanks to which they can play their important role. The shape and height of the foot arches are already formed in the preschool and early school years; therefore, abnormalities and disorders in children's feet, and correlations between foot formation and somatic build, are still crucial and interesting issues for orthopedists, pediatricians, physiotherapists, and podiatrists. This study deals with changes in the height of the longitudinal and transverse arches of the foot in 4- to 6-year-old children.

Methods

A total of 102 boys and 105 girls took part in a 24-month study in which their body weight, height, body mass index, and Clarke's and gamma angles were measured. The analysis also focused on correlations among sex, nutritional status, and changes in foot arch height.

Results

It was discovered that sex did not considerably affect Clarke's and gamma angle values. However, it was found that between ages 4 and 6 years, the proportion of overweight and obese boys and girls increased, and the medial longitudinal arch of the foot had a tendency to collapse in those with excessive body weight. The effect of nutritional status on the transverse arch of the foot is rather dubious.

Conclusions

In light of these findings, therapeutic programs for preventing foot deformities in children should also focus on body weight control.

Corresponding author: Agnieszka Jankowicz-Szymanska, PhD, Instytut Ochrony Zdrowia, Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Zawodowa, ul. A. Mickiewicza 8, 33-100 Tarnow, Poland. (E-mail: jankowiczszymanska@gmail.com)