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Plantar Pressure and Gait Symmetry in Individuals with Fractures versus Tendon Injuries to the Hindfoot

Stephanie R. Albin The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.

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Mark W. Cornwall Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.

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Thomas G. McPoil School of Physical Therapy, Regis University, Denver, CO.

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Drew H. Van Boerum The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.

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James M. Morgan The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.

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Background

The intent of this study was to determine whether differences in function, walking characteristics, and plantar pressures exist in individuals after operative fixation of an intra-articular calcaneal fracture (HFX) compared with individuals with operative repair of an Achilles tendon rupture (ATR).

Methods

Twenty patients (ten with HFXs and ten with ATRs) were recruited approximately 3.5 months after operative intervention. All of the participants completed the Lower Extremity Functional Scale and had their foot posture assessed using the Foot Posture Index. Walking velocity was assessed using a pressure mat system, and plantar pressures were measured using an in-shoe sensor. In addition to between-group comparisons, the involved foot was compared with the uninvolved foot for each participant.

Results

There were no differences in age, height, weight, or number of days since surgery between the two groups. The HFX group had lower Lower Extremity Functional Scale scores, slower walking velocities, and different forefoot loading patterns compared with the ATR group. The involved limb of both groups was less pronated.

Conclusions

The results indicate that individuals with an HFX spend more time on their involved limb and walk slower than those with an ATR. Plantar pressures in the HFX group were higher in the lateral forefoot and lower in the medial forefoot and in the ATR group were symmetrically lower in the forefoot.

Corresponding author: Thomas G. McPoil, PT, PhD, School of Physical Therapy, Regis University, 3333 Regis Blvd, G-4, Denver, CO 80221. (E-mail: tmcpoil@regis.edu)