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Evaluation of Plantar Pressure Distribution in Relationship to Body Mass Index in Czech Women During Walking

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  • 1 Department of Natural Sciences in Kinanthropology, Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.
  • | 2 Department of Anthropology and Health Education, Faculty of Education, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.
  • | 3 Institute of Active Lifestyle, Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.
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Background:

Excessive body weight seems to be a risk factor for foot loading. We sought to investigate the effect of different body mass index (BMI) levels on plantar pressure distribution during walking.

Methods:

In total, 163 women aged 45 to 65 years (mean ± SD: age, 57.4 ± 5.3 years; BMI, 27.0 ± 5.3) participated in the study. The women were divided, on the basis of BMI, into a normal-weight, overweight, or obese group. The study used the four following plantar pressure parameters (PPPs): contact percentage, absolute pressure impulse, relative pressure impulse, and absolute peak pressure, which were recorded in ten foot regions using a pressure measurement system.

Results:

The normal-weight group, compared with the overweight and obese groups, had significantly lower absolute PPP values. In the hallux, second through fifth metatarsals, midfoot, and heel regions, we observed significant between-group differences in the two absolute PPPs (peak pressure and pressure impulse) (P < .001). Between-group differences in the relative PPPs were found in the fourth metatarsal, midfoot, and medial heel (relative impulse) and in the second metatarsal (contact percentage) (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Higher BMI values correspond to a higher load on the foot during walking in women. The relative foot load in obese women is characterized by a pressure increase in the lateral forefoot and midfoot and by a pressure decrease in the medial heel.

Corresponding author: Kristína Tománková, PhD, Department of Natural Sciences in Kinanthropology, Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University, Olomouc, tř. Míru 117, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic; Department of Anthropology and Health Education, Faculty of Education, Palacký University, Olomouc, Žižkovo náměstí 5, 771 40 Olomouc, Czech Republic. (E-mail: kristina.tomankova@upol.cz)