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Effects of Different External Supports on Plantar Pressure-Time Integral and Contact Area in Flexible Flatfoot

Banu Ünver PT, PhD and Nilgün Bek PT, PhD
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Background

Flexible flatfoot disturbs the load distribution of the foot. Various external supports are used to prevent abnormal plantar loading in flexible flatfoot. However, few studies have compared the effects of different external supports on plantar loading in flexible flatfoot. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of elastic taping, nonelastic taping, and custom-made foot orthoses on plantar pressure-time integral and contact area in flexible flatfoot.

Methods

Twenty-seven participants with flexible flatfoot underwent dynamic pedobarographic analysis while barefoot and with elastic tape, nonelastic tape, and custom-made foot orthoses.

Results

Pressure-time integral percentage was higher with foot orthoses than in the barefoot and taping conditions in the midfoot (P < .001) and was lower with foot orthoses than in barefoot in the right forefoot (P < .05). Pressure-time integral values were lower with foot orthoses in the second, third, and fourth metatarsals and the lateral heel (P < .05). With foot orthoses, contact area values were higher in the toes; second, third, and fourth metatarsi; midfoot; and heel compared with the other conditions (P < .05). Pressure-time integral in the right lateral heel and contact area in the left fourth metatarsal increased with nonelastic taping versus barefoot (P < .05).

Conclusions

Foot orthoses are more effective in providing dynamic pressure redistribution in flexible flatfoot. Although nonelastic taping has some effects, taping methods may be insufficient in altering the measured pedobarographic values in this condition.

Bülent Ecevit University, Zonguldak, Turkey. Dr. Ünver is now with Lokman Hekim University, Ankara, Turkey.

Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. Dr. Bek is now with Lokman Hekim University, Ankara, Turkey.

Corresponding author: Banu Ünver, PT, PhD, Lokman Hekim University, Sogutozu, 2179 Cd. Cankaya, Ankara, Turkey. (E-mail: banuukarahan@yahoo.com)