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The Association Between Foot Structure and Foot Kinematics During Slow Running

Malia Ho Tsai Djun BSc(Hons) Podiatry, MSc, PhD* and John Tan Cher Chay BSc, PhD
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Background

Clinicians routinely assess foot posture as part of their assessment and management of foot pathologies. Flat or high-arched foot postures have been linked to kinematic deviations and increased risk of foot injuries. The Foot Posture Index (FPI) is a valid clinical tool used to classify feet into high-arched, normal-arched, and flat foot groups and predicts foot function during walking well. Walking and running are distinct locomotion styles, and studies have not been performed to correlate FPI to foot function during running. This study aims to investigate the association of FPI scores to foot kinematics during running. The results will further inform clinicians who perform static assessment of feet of individuals who are runners.

Methods

Sixty-nine participants had their feet assessed using the FPI scoring system. Based on these scores, the feet were categorized as flat foot, normal-arched, and high-arched. Rearfoot eversion and forefoot dorsiflexion (arch flattening) of the foot were analysed during slow running between 1.4 and 2.2 m/sec. The Pearson correlation was used to analyse the FPI scores on an interval scale, with Cohen's d used to report effect size. One-way analysis of variance and a Bonferroni post hoc test was used to analyze data by category. Level of significance was set at P < .05.

Results

Thirty-four flat feet, 26 normal-arched feet, and nine high-arched feet were analyzed. The FPI scores correlated significantly with rearfoot eversion (moderate effect size) and forefoot dorsiflexion (low effect size). Rearfoot eversion was greatest in the flat foot, followed by the normal-arched foot and the high-arched foot. Forefoot dorsiflexion was significantly higher in the flat foot compared with the high-arched group.

Conclusions

Foot Posture Index scores are positively correlated with rearfoot eversion and forefoot dorsiflexion during running. Clinicians can use this information to aid their foot assessment and management of individuals who are runners.

School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.

Physical Education and Sports Science, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Corresponding author: Malia Ho Tsai Djun, BSc(Hons) Podiatry, MSc, PhD, CQ University Australia, Bldg 34, Level 1, 18 Bruce Hwy, North Rockhampton, Queensland 4701, Australia. (E-mail: m.ho@cqu.edu.au)