Changes in multi-segment foot biomechanics with a heat-mouldable semi-custom foot orthotic device
- Equal contributors
1 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
2 Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
3 Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2011, 4:18 doi:10.1186/1757-1146-4-18Published: 21 June 2011
Semi-custom foot orthoses (SCO) are thought to be a cost-effective alternative to custom-made devices. However, previous biomechanical research involving either custom or SCO has only focused on rearfoot biomechanics. The purpose of this study was therefore to determine changes in multi-segment foot biomechanics during shod walking with and without an SCO. We chose to investigate an SCO device that incorporates a heat-moulding process, to further understand if the moulding process would significantly alter rearfoot, midfoot, or shank kinematics as compared to a no-orthotic condition. We hypothesized the SCO, whether moulded or non-moulded, would reduce peak rearfoot eversion, tibial internal rotation, arch deformation, and plantar fascia strain as compared to the no-orthoses condition.
Twenty participants had retroreflective markers placed on the right limb to represent forefoot, midfoot, rearfoot and shank segments. 3D kinematics were recorded using an 8-camera motion capture system while participants walked on a treadmill.
Plantar fascia strain was reduced by 34% when participants walked in either the moulded or non-moulded SCO condition compared to no-orthoses. However, there were no significant differences in peak rearfoot eversion, tibial internal rotation, or medial longitudinal arch angles between any conditions.
A semi-custom moulded orthotic does not control rearfoot, shank, or arch deformation but does, however, reduce plantar fascia strain compared to walking without an orthoses. Heat-moulding the orthotic device does not have a measurable effect on any biomechanical variables compared to the non-moulded condition. These data may, in part, help explain the clinical efficacy of orthotic devices.