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Foot Arch Characterisation

by MASS4D® Prescription Orthotics March 29, 2017


This article compared the various measures related to the foot arch including the midfoot dorsal angle, and investigated the differences in the dimensional measures among various foot types.

Forty-eight Hong Kong Chinese adults participated in the experiment, and none of them had any visible foot abnormalities or a history of significant lower-limb injury.

Nine dependent variables were identified with six different methods: the arch height index, normalised navicular height, the arch index from inked footprint, the arch index from pressure-imaged footprint, the footprint index, the modified arch index, the subjective ranking, the malleolar valgus index, and the midfoot dorsal angle.

Six foot dimensions were measured – foot length, foot width, arch length, midfoot height, navicular height, and midfoot dorsal angle twice, with half of the body weight on each foot with the help of set squares, a measuring tape, and a special apparatus.

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Significant correlations were found among all of the foot parameters except for the malleolar valgus index.

The inked footprint arch index had moderate to high correlations with the arch index from F-scan, the footprint index, the modified arch index, the midfoot dorsal angle, the arch height index, normalised navicular height, and the subjective ranking.

The midfoot dorsal angle was found to be comparable with the arch height index in terms of its relation to the arch height index and the reliability of the metric.

The high-arched group had significantly shorter arch lengths but larger navicular heights and higher midfoot dorsal angles compared with the low-arched group.

Differences in force distributions and peak pressures were also observed.

The rearfoot had more loading and greater peak pressure whereas the midfoot had less load in the high-arched group compared with the low-arched group.

Based on the findings, the authors concluded that the midfoot dorsal angle may be an appropriate metric for characterising the foot arch because it is quick and easy to measure.

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  1. Xiong S., Goonetilleke S. R., Witana P. C., Weerasinghe W. T., Lee Au Y. E. (2010) Foot Arch Characterisation: A Review, a New Metric, and a Comparison.  Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: January/February 2010, Vol. 100, No. 1, pp.14-24

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