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Open Access Research

Reliability of the TekScan MatScan® system for the measurement of plantar forces and pressures during barefoot level walking in healthy adults

Gerard V Zammit1*, Hylton B Menz1 and Shannon E Munteanu12

Author Affiliations

1 Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia

2 Department of Podiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2010, 3:11  doi:10.1186/1757-1146-3-11

Published: 18 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Plantar pressure systems are increasingly being used to evaluate foot function in both research settings and in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to investigate the reliability of the TekScan MatScan® system in assessing plantar forces and pressures during barefoot level walking.

Methods

Thirty participants were assessed for the reliability of measurements taken one week apart for the variables maximum force, peak pressure and average pressure. The following seven regions of the foot were investigated; heel, midfoot, 3rd-5th metatarsophalangeal joint, 2nd metatarsophalangeal joint, 1st metatarsophalangeal joint, hallux and the lesser toes.

Results

Reliability was assessed using both the mean and the median values of three repeated trials. The system displayed moderate to good reliability of mean and median calculations for the three analysed variables across all seven regions, as indicated by intra-class correlation coefficients ranging from 0.44 to 0.95 for the mean and 0.54 to 0.97 for the median, and coefficients of variation ranging from 5 to 20% for the mean and 3 to 23% for the median. Selecting the median value of three repeated trials yielded slightly more reliable results than the mean.

Conclusions

These findings indicate that the TekScan MatScan® system demonstrates generally moderate to good reliability.