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Arch Index as a Predictor of Pes Planus

A Comparative Study of Indigenous Kenyans and Tanzanians

Patrick S. Igbigbi Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre.

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 MBBS, MSc
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Boniface C. Msamati Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre.

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 MD, PhD
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Macfenton B. Shariff Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre.

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We determined the arch index of able-bodied indigenous Kenyan and Tanzanian individuals free of foot pain by using their dynamic footprints to classify the foot arch type and determine the prevalence of pes planus according to a previously described method. Males had a significantly higher arch index than females in both groups, and the prevalence of pes planus in Kenyans was 432 per 1,000 population, the highest ever documented and twice as high as that in Tanzanians (203 per 1,000 population). The arch index is useful in determining the prevalence of pes planus and possibly predicting pathologic foot conditions, and it may serve as an early warning sign of structural and functional defects of the foot in a given population. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(3): 273–276, 2005)

Corresponding author: Patrick S. Igbigbi, MBBS, MSc, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Private Bag 360, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi.