Kinematic differences between neutral and flat feet with and without symptoms as measured by the Oxford foot model.
Kerr CM., Zavatsky AB., Theologis T., Stebbins J.
BACKGROUND: Flatfoot is a common presentation in children. It is usually asymptomatic, though a small number of children experience pain. Foot function during flatfoot walking is rarely considered, yet as an activity that places significant demands on the feet, this could explain the differences in terms of symptoms. RESEARCH QUESTION: This paper investigates walking patterns in neutral and flat feet, with and without symptoms, to determine which kinematic parameters are associated with symptomatic flat feet. METHODS: This is a retrospective study in which one hundred and six children between five and 18 years old were assessed by a physiotherapist for foot posture. Each foot was classified into one of four groups, giving 98 asymptomatic neutral, 47 asymptomatic mild flat, 29 asymptomatic flat, and 38 symptomatic flat feet with complete data for analysis. Using Plug-In-Gait and Oxford-Foot-Model markers, walking kinematics were measured, along with ground reaction forces. Median values of 14 lower limb joint angles were calculated at foot strike, midstance, and foot off. Each foot was treated as an independent sample. ANOVA and ANCOVA (with the speed-related variable relative stride length as the covariate) and post-hoc tests were used to assess whether angles differed between groups. RESULTS: The symptomatic flat feet showed significant differences from asymptomatic groups (most commonly the neutral feet) in terms of hip flexion, knee flexion and varus, hindfoot inversion-eversion, and forefoot abduction-adduction. Increased forefoot abduction occurred throughout stance phase in symptomatic flatfooted participants compared to all asymptomatic groups. SIGNIFICANCE: The results suggest that foot motion in the transverse plane is closely associated with the presence of symptoms in flat feet and that this is accompanied by changes in the kinematics of the ankle, knee, and hip.