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Changes in Plantar Foot Pressure with In-Shoe Varus or Valgus Wedging

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  • 1 Laboratory of Biomechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.
  • | 2 Private practice, Bedford, NH.
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Varus and valgus wedging are commonly used by podiatric physicians in therapy with custom-made foot orthoses. This study aimed to provide scientific evidence of the effects on plantar foot pressure of applying in-shoe forefoot or rearfoot wedging. The plantar foot pressure distribution of 23 subjects walking on a treadmill was recorded using a pressure insole system for seven different wedging conditions, ranging from 3° valgus to 6° varus for the forefoot and from 4° valgus to 8° varus for the rearfoot. The results demonstrate that increasing varus wedging magnifies peak pressure and maximal loading rate at the medial forefoot and rearfoot, whereas increasing valgus wedging magnifies peak pressure and maximal loading rate at the lateral forefoot and rearfoot. As expected, the location of the center of pressure shifts medially with varus wedging and laterally with valgus wedging. However, these shifts are less significant than those in peak load and maximal loading rate. Timing variables such as interval from initial impact to peak load do not seem to be affected by forefoot or rearfoot wedging. Finally, rearfoot wedging does not significantly influence pressure variables of the forefoot; similarly, rearfoot pressure remains unaffected by forefoot wedging. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(1): 1-11, 2004)

Corresponding author: Bart Van Gheluwe, DrSc, Laboratory of Biomechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Fac. LK, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.