The aim of this study was the analysis of selected features of the foot structure in boys with Down Syndrome (DS) versus their age- and gender-matched peers without the condition.
The study included 30 boys with DS attending the Special Purpose School and Education Center in Mrowla, the Special Purpose School and Education Center in Ropczyce and UNICEF Special Schools Complex in Rzeszow (Poland).
In addition to an exact foot print, the authors obtained information about the foot arching.
The study entailed measuring of the plantar feet surfaces in a relaxed stance, with the upper limbs hanging along the body. Each time, both feet were subjected to examination.
The following parameters were measured – foot length, foot width, Clarke’s angle, the Wejsflog (W) index, hallux valgus angle and the angle of the varus deformity of the fifth toe.
Anthropometric measurements of the body mass and height were taken.
The research for this study showed that the feet of boys with DS are shorter and narrower compared to their healthy peers.
There was a clear flattening of the dynamic foot arch.
Also, in terms of the transverse arch, determined based on the ratio between the length and width of the foot, the boys with DS achieved worse results.
The cause of the reduction of longitudinal and transverse arch rates may be abnormal function of the muscles and ligaments and excessive bodyweight.
Based on the findings, the authors also concluded that hallux valgus angle is not the most important feature differentiating the shape of the foot in the boys with DS and their healthy peers.
It is worth noting that, in terms of the V toe setting, boys in the control group had poorer results.
Specialised therapeutic treatment in children and adolescents with DS should primarily involve exercises to increase the muscle strength around the foot joints, enhancing the stabilisation in the joints and proprioception, as well as introducing orthotics and proper footwear.
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