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Forefoot Plantar Pressures in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Simon J. Otter School of Health Professions, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, England.

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Catherine Jane Bowen School of Health Professions, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, England.

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Adam K. Young St Albans City Hospital, St Albans, England.

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We sought to investigate the magnitude and duration of peak forefoot plantar pressures in rheumatoid arthritis. The spatial and temporal characteristics of forefoot plantar pressures were measured in 25 patients with a positive diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis of 5 to 10 years’ duration (mean, 8 years) and a comparison group using a platform-based pressure-measurement system. There were no significant differences between groups in the magnitude of peak plantar pressure in the forefoot region. Significant differences were, however, noted for temporal aspects of foot-pressure measurement. The duration of loading over sensors detecting peak plantar pressure was significantly longer in the rheumatoid arthritis group. In addition, the rheumatoid arthritis group demonstrated significantly greater force–time integrals. Significant increases in the temporal parameters of plantar pressure distribution, rather than those of amplitude, may be characteristic of the rheumatoid foot. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(3): 255–260, 2004)

Corresponding author: Simon J. Otter, MSc, DPodM, School of Health Professions, Leaf Hospital, University of Brighton, St Annes Rd, Eastbourne BN21 2HW, England.