Ankle dorsiflexion measurement is important for clinical and research use. With so much evidence on the unreliability of goniometric measurements, a systematic review was performed to investigate various alternative techniques for measuring ankle dorsiflexion in the nonneurologic patient. All of the major databases were queried electronically to identify studies that used any method of ankle dorsiflexion measurement in the nonneurologic subject. Keywords included ankle dorsiflexion NOT cerebral palsy NOT stroke, the latter to exclude neurologic conditions. In 755 studies that used some form of ankle joint dorsiflexion measurement, ten different techniques were identified that included various apparatuses designed specifically for this purpose. Reliability testing of these techniques involved test-retest trials with small student populations as subjects, which returned high intraclass correlation coefficient scores. However, their methodological quality would have benefitted from the use of an actual patient population and comparison with a reference standard. When validating ankle dorsiflexion measurement techniques, actual patient populations should be used, otherwise papers would score poorly on methodological quality assessment. Standardizing patient position, foot posture, amount of moment applied, and reference landmarks will ensure that various trial results can be compared directly. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(1): 59–69, 2011)
We sought to evaluate the relationship between baseline hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level and clinical outcomes, including foot ulcer outcome (resolved versus unresolved) and wound-healing time, in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
A prospective observational study was conducted on 99 patients presenting with a diabetic foot ulceration. Patient and ulcer characteristics were recorded. Patients were followed up for a maximum of 1 year.
After 1 year of follow-up, 77% of ulcers healed and 23% did not heal. Although this study demonstrated that the baseline HbA1c reading was not a significant predictor of foot ulcer outcome (P = .603, resolved versus amputated), on further statistical analyses, when HbA1c was compared with the time taken for complete ulcer healing in the resolved group (n = 77), it proved to be significant (P = .009).
These findings have important implications for clinical practice, especially in an outpatient setting. Improving glycemic control may improve ulcer outcomes. Prediction of outcome may be helpful for health-care professionals in individualizing and optimizing clinical assessment and management of patients. Identification of determinants of outcome could result in improved health outcomes, improved quality of life, and fewer diabetes-related foot complications.
Although assessment of passive maximum foot dorsiflexion angle is performed routinely, there is a paucity of information regarding adolescents’ foot and foot segment motion during this procedure. There are currently no trials investigating the kinematics of the adolescent foot during passive foot dorsiflexion.
A six-camera optoelectronic motion capture system was used to collect kinematic data using the Oxford Foot Model. Eight female amateur gymnasts 11 to 16 years old (mean age, 13.2 years; mean height, 1.5 m) participated in the study. A dorsiflexing force was applied to the forefoot until reaching maximum resistance with the foot placed in the neutral, pronated, and supinated positions in random order. The maximum foot dorsiflexion angle and the range of movement of the forefoot to hindfoot, tibia to forefoot, and tibia to hindfoot angles were computed.
Mean ± SD maximum foot dorsiflexion angles were 36.3° ± 7.2° for pronated, 36.9° ± 4.0° for neutral, and 33.0° ± 4.9° for supinated postures. One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance results were nonsignificant among the 3 groups (P = .70), as were the forefoot to tibia angle and hindfoot to tibia angle variations (P = .091 and P = .188, respectively). Forefoot to hindfoot angle increased with the application of force, indicating that in adolescents, the forefoot does not lock at any particular posture as portrayed by the traditional Rootian paradigm.
Participants had very flexible foot dorsiflexion, unlike those in another study assessing adolescent athletes. This finding, together with nonsignificant statistical results, implies that foot dorsiflexion measurement may be performed at any foot posture without notably affecting results. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(5): 394–399, 2013)
First-line therapy for diabetic patients presenting with intermittent claudication includes supervised exercise programs to improve walking distance. However, exercise comes with a variety of barriers and may be contraindicated in certain conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether calf muscle electrostimulation improves claudication distance.
A prospective, one-group, pretest-posttest study design was used on 40 participants living with type 2 diabetes mellitus, peripheral artery disease (ankle brachial pressure index, <0.90), and calf muscle claudication. Calf muscle electrostimulation of varying frequencies (1–250 Hz) was prescribed on both limbs for 1-hour daily sessions for 12 consecutive weeks. The absolute claudication distance (ACD) was measured at baseline and after the intervention.
The recruited cohort (30 men and ten women; mean age, 71 years; mean ankle brachial pressure index, 0.70) registered a mean ± SD baseline ACD of 333.71 ± 208 m. After a mean ± SD of 91.68 ± 6.23 days of electrical stimulation, a significant mean ± SD increase of 137 ± 136 m in the ACD (P = .001, Wilcoxon signed rank test) was registered. Improvement was found to be sex independent, but age was negatively correlated with proportion of improvement (r = –0.361; P = .011, Pearson correlation test).
Electrical stimulation of varying frequencies on ischemic calf muscles significantly increased the maximal walking capacity in claudicants with type 2 diabetes. This therapeutic approach should be considered in patients with impaired exercise tolerance or as an adjunct treatment modality.
Background: Toe deformities are common foot abnormalities in older adults, contributing to functional disability, loss of balance, falls, and pressure lesions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the custom-made molded silicone toe prop in distributing apical and metatarsophalangeal joint peak plantar pressures and force-time integral in toe deformities, including hammertoes and claw toes, and to observe any difference in pressures between flexible and rigid toe deformities.
Methods: A prospective quasi-experimental pretest/posttest study was conducted including 20 “healthy” older adults with a hammer or claw toe at the second digit. Ten subjects presented with a flexible toe and 10 subjects presented with a rigid toe. A molded silicone toe prop was devised for each participant. Dynamic plantar pressure measurements were taken/recorded before applying the toe prop and after the toe prop was placed under the toe.
Results: Significant differences in mean peak plantar pressure and pressure-time integral were observed at the apex of the second toe in both the flexible and rigid toe deformity when using a molded silicone toe prop. At the metatarsophalangeal joint, pressures were significantly reduced in the rigid toe deformity but not in the flexible toe deformity.
Conclusions: Silicone molded toe props were found to be effective in reducing peak pressure and pressure-time integral on the apex of the second digit in participants with both flexible and rigid claw or hammertoe deformity. Lesser toe deformities may be the cause of several foot complications, including pain on walking, corns, difficulty in wearing footwear, possible ulcerations caused by increased pressure at the apices of the toes, and other comorbidities, that could possibly lead to falls in older adults and thus need to be addressed appropriately.
The aim of this study was to determine the quality of life in patients living with hallux abducto valgus deformity before and after a taping technique.
This study used a time series, quasi-experimental, same-subject design. Thirty-five patients with hallux abducto valgus were recruited in this study. Nonelastic zinc oxide tape was applied for 4 weeks. The Foot Health Status Questionnaire was used to assess the quality of life of participants before and after the intervention. The paired samples t test was used to test for statistical significance at the 95% confidence level.
In this study, a statistical reduction was seen in foot pain, foot function, and general foot health (P < .0001) after applying the nonelastic zinc oxide tape for 10 hours daily for 4 weeks. No statistically significant difference was found in the remaining domains of the Foot Health Status Questionnaire, although a difference in mean scores was observed.
Treatment with nonelastic zinc oxide tape led to improved management of hallux abducto valgus and better quality of life; it is a safe, easy-to-use method with minimal adverse effects. Future studies should evaluate this method using larger sample groups and longer treatment periods while comparing this method with alternative treatment approaches, such as exercise or orthotic devices.
Spectral Doppler ultrasound examination of pedal arteries is one of the most frequently used noninvasive assessment methods by health-care professionals for the diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of people at risk for or living with peripheral arterial disease. The aim of this study was to determine the interrater reliability of the interpretation of spectral Doppler waveform analysis.
An interrater reliability study was conducted among five experienced podiatric physicians at the University of Malta Research Laboratory (Msida, Malta). A researcher who was not a rater in this study randomly selected 229 printed spectral Doppler waveforms from a database held at the University of Malta. Each rater independently rated the qualitative spectral waveforms.
Interrater reliability of the spectral Doppler waveform interpretation was excellent among the five experienced podiatric physicians (α = 0.98). The intraclass correlation coefficient showed a high degree of correlation in waveform interpretation across raters (P < .001).
This study demonstrates high interrater reliability in visual spectral Doppler interpretation among experienced clinicians. The current foot screening guidelines do not refer to spectral Doppler waveform analysis in their recommendations, which has been shown in studies to be an important modality for the diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease when ankle-brachial pressure indexes are falsely elevated in calcified arteries. If interpreted correctly, the information obtained can provide an indication of the presence of peripheral arterial disease and facilitate early management of this condition.
In vitro biomechanical testing of the human foot often involves the use of fresh frozen cadaveric specimens to investigate interventions that would be detrimental to human subjects. The Thiel method is an alternative embalming technique that maintains soft-tissue consistency similar to that of living tissue. However, its suitability for biomechanical testing is unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine whether Thiel-embalmed foot specimens exhibit kinematic and kinetic biomechanical properties similar to those of fresh frozen specimens.
An observational study design was conducted at a university biomechanics laboratory. Three cadavers had both limbs amputated, with one being fresh frozen and the other preserved by Thiel's embalming. Each foot was tested while undergoing plantarflexion and dorsiflexion in three states: unloaded and under loads of 10 and 20 kg. Their segment kinematics and foot pressure mapping were assessed simultaneously.
No statistically significant differences were detected between fresh frozen and Thiel-embalmed sample pairs regarding kinematics and kinetics.
These findings highlight similar kinematic and kinetic properties between fresh frozen and Thiel-embalmed foot specimens, thus possibly enabling these specimens to be interchanged due to the latter specimens' advantage of delayed decomposition. This can open innovative opportunities for the use of these specimens in applications related to the investigation of dynamic foot function in research and education.
Background: We investigated the effectiveness and durability of two types of plantar padding, the plantar metatarsal pad and the single wing plantar cover, which are commonly used for reducing forefoot plantar pressures.
Methods: Mean peak plantar pressure and impulse at the hallux and at the first, second, third, and fourth metatarsophalangeal joints across both feet were recorded using the two-step method in 18 individuals with normal asymptomatic feet. Plantar paddings were retained for 5 days, and their durability and effectiveness were assessed by repeating the foot plantar measurement at baseline and after 3 and 5 days.
Results: The single wing plantar cover devised from 5-mm felt adhesive padding was effective and durable in reducing peak plantar pressure and impulse at the first metatarsophalangeal joint (P = .001 and P = .015, respectively); however, it was not found to be effective in reducing peak plantar pressure and impulse at the hallux (P = .782 and P = .845, respectively). The plantar metatarsal pad was not effective in reducing plantar forefoot pressure and impulse at the second, third, and fourth metatarsophalangeal joints (P = .310 and P = .174, respectively).
Conclusions: These results imply limited applicability of the single wing plantar cover and the plantar metatarsal pad in reducing hallux pressure and second through fourth metatarsophalangeal joint pressure, respectively. However, the single wing plantar cover remained durable for the 5 days of the trial and was effective in reducing the peak plantar pressure and impulse underneath the first metatarsophalangeal joint.
Background: Metatarsalgia is a common affliction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), often requiring aggressive pharmacologic treatment that carries associated adverse effects. The aim of this study was to investigate whether simple insoles would have a beneficial effect on forefoot pain, disability, and functional limitation in participants with RA experiencing forefoot pain.
Method: A prospective, quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest trial was performed at a rheumatology outpatient clinic. Participants were supplied with a simple insole comprising a valgus pad and a plantar metatarsal pad and covered with a cushioning material. The Foot Function Index (FFI) was self-administered before and 3 months after insole use.
Results: Reductions in forefoot pain (from 56.78 to 42.97) and total (from 41.64 to 33.54) FFI scores were noted. Statistical significance for this reduction was achieved following the t test (P = .002 and P = .0085, respectively). However, although reductions in mean disability and activity limitation scores were recorded (from 50 to 44.85 and from 18 to 14.57, respectively), these did not reach significance (P = .151 and P = .092, respectively)
Conclusions: Simple insoles have been shown to be effective in reducing total and forefoot pain FFI scores in patients with RA experiencing metatarsalgia. This treatment offers advantages because these devices can be fabricated simply and cheaply, thus initiating the patient on an effective orthosis therapy immediately in the clinic without having to wait for prolonged periods until custom orthotic devices can be supplied.