Biomechanical effects of foot orthoses during walking

Alex Stacoff, Inès Kramers-de Quervain, Markus Dettwyler, Peter Wolf, Renate List, Thomas Ukelo and Edgar Stüssi

The purpose of this study was to quantify kinetic and kinematic effects during the stance phase of walking using three different foot orthoses. All test subjects were measured under five test conditions with 10 repetitions each. The test conditions included: neutral orthosis (tested twice) and three different orthoses (posting, molding and posting combined, proprioceptive). Whereas most previous studies rely on healthy subjects to describe effects of orthoses during gait, the present study used eight patients (all pes valgus). Standard gait analysis was used with force plates and an optoelectric measuring system. The results show that the combined molding and posting foot orthosis significantly reduced eversion and eversion moments during walking compared to a posting type and a proprioceptive orthosis in several test parameters. EMG measurements with fine wire electrodes on three of the test subjects revealed that the activity pattern of the tibialis posterior muscle can considerably change between subjects but may not be used to explain apparent individual effects. The results suggest that for subjects with pes valgus a combined molding and posting orthoses reduces eversion best and that individual variations may be due to subject dependent proprioception, internal foot mechanics and/or a combination of both.

The Foot, 2007 17(3), 143-153

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Rachael Lowe is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Physiopedia. A physiotherapist and technology specialist Rachael has been working with Physiopedia since 2008 to create a resource that provides universal access to physiotherapy knowledge as well as a platform for connecting and educating the global physiotherapy profession.

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