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Cadence, Age, and Weight as Determinants of Forefoot Plantar Pressures Using the Biofoot In-shoe System

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  • 1 Enfermería, Universidad de Extremadura, Centro Universitario de Plasencia, Plasencia, Spain.
  • | 2 Podiatry, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
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Background: We evaluated normal plantar pressures and studied the effect of weight, cadence, and age on forefoot plantar pressures in healthy subjects by using the Biofoot (Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain) in-shoe measurement system.

Methods: The feet of 45 healthy subjects with no evident foot or lower-limb diseases were measured with the Biofoot in-shoe system. The forefoot was divided into seven areas: the first through fifth metatarsal heads, the hallux, and the second through fifth lesser toes. Three trials of 8 sec each were recorded twice in each subject, and the mean was used to analyze peak and mean plantar pressures. A multiple regression model including weight, age, and cadence was run for each metatarsal head, the hallux, and the lesser toes. Intraclass correlation coefficients and coefficients of variation were also calculated to assess reliability.

Results: The second metatarsal head had the greatest peak (960 kPa) and mean (585.1 kPa) pressures, followed by the third metatarsal head. Weight and cadence combined explained 18% and 23% of peak plantar pressure at the second and third metatarsal heads, respectively (P < .001). The intraclass correlation coefficient varied from 0.76 to 0.96 for all variables. The coefficient of variation between sessions ranged from 5.8% to 9.0%.

Conclusion: The highest peak and mean plantar pressures were found at the second and third metatarsal heads in healthy subjects. Weight, cadence, and age explained a low variability of this pressure pattern. The Biofoot in-shoe system has good reliability to measure plantar pressures. These data will have implications for the understanding of normal foot biomechanics and its determinants. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(4): 302–310, 2008)

Corresponding author: Alfonso Martínez-Nova, Lic Pod, Universidad de Extremadura, Centro Universitario de Plasencia, Plasencia, Avda. Virgen del Puerto 2, Cáceres 10600, Spain. (E-mail: podoalf@unex.es)