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Subtalar Joint Axis Location and Rotational Equilibrium Theory of Foot Function

Kevin A. Kirby Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine; Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Podiatric Biomechanics, California College of Podiatric Medicine, San Francisco, CA. Mailing address: 2626 N St, Sacramento, CA 95816.

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A new theory of foot function based on the spatial location of the subtalar joint axis in relation to the weightbearing structures of the plantar foot is proposed. The theory relies on the concept of subtalar joint rotational equilibrium to explain how externally generated forces, such as ground reaction force, and internally generated forces, such as ligamentous and tendon tensile forces and joint compression forces, affect the mechanical behavior of the foot and lower extremity. The biomechanical effect of variations among individuals in the spatial location of the subtalar joint axis are explored, along with their clinical consequences, to offer an additional theory of foot function, which may improve on existing podiatric biomechanics theory. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(9): 465-487, 2001)