As the average person takes 3 to 3.5 million steps per year, this can lead to a variety of foot problems (Putti, Arnold, Cochrane, & Abboud, 2007; Tudor-Locke & Bassett, 2004). The measurement of plantar pressure is a known tool to evaluate foot function and dynamics in stance (Gurney, Kersting, & Rosenbaum, 2008). Pressure is a measurement of the force divided by the area.
At Perform we have a 2 metre AM cube Footwalk Pro pressure plate which is used with Footwork Pro software. This can measure the pressure in standing statically and when you move as in walking.
Figure 1 The Pressure Plate
Figure 2 Static pressure measurement
Abnormal plantar pressure measurements in walking have been linked to the development of a variety of foot conditions including metatarsal stress fractures (Menz & Morris, 2006; Weist, Elis, & Rosenbaum, 2004). The majority of gait research undertaken in young adults is focused upon running and in older adults on walking (De Cock, Vanrenterghem, Willems, Witvrouw, & De Clercq, 2008). Further it is thought that both velocity and footwear has a major role in plantar pressure and loading (Burnfield, Few, Mohammed, & Perry, 2004).
Gait is assumed to be symmetrical (De Cock et al., 2005). De Cock et al. (2005) found some differences between right and left feet during foot unroll in running. Blanc, Balmer, Landis, and Vingerhoets (1999) also found variations in dynamic timing between feet such as roll off of the forefoot. The difference in right and left foot loading has been studied during running (Praet et al., 1998). It was found in a young healthy adult population the feet are not symmetrically loaded. Therefore it is recommended that individual analysis should include the right and left foot separately (Cavanagh & Lafortune, as cited in De Cock et al., 2005).
It has been found that foot structural factors, such as foot posture, and joint range of motion are known to influence the pressure measurements (Chuckpaiwong et al., 2008; Fernando, Mason, Veves, & Boulton, cited in Menz & Morris, 2006; Menz & Morris, 2006). Therefore an objective assessment should be undertaken. At Perform we have Physiotherapists who can assess your feet and refer onwards to a Podiatrist if indicated.
Blanc, Y., Balmer, C., Landis, T., & Vingerhoets, F. (1999). Temporal parameters and patterns of the foot roll over during walking: normative data for healthy adults. Gait and Posture, 10, 97-108.
Burnfield, J.M., Few, C.D., Mohammed, O.S., & Perry, J. (2004). The influence of walking speed and footwear on plantar pressures in older adults. Clinical Biomechanics, 19, 78-84.
Chuckpaiwong, B., Nunley, J.A., Mall, N.A., & Queen, R.M. (2008). The effect of foot type on in-shoe plantar pressure during walking and running. Gait and Posture, 28, 405-411.
De Cock, A., De Clercq, D., Willems, T., Witvrouw, E. (2005). Temporal characteristics of foot roll-over during barefoot jogging: reference data for young adults. Gait and Posture, 21, 432-439.
De Cock, A., Vanrenterghem, J., Willems, T., Witvrouw, E., & De Clercq, D. (2008). The trajectory of the centre of pressure during barefoot running as a potential measure for foot function. Gait and Posture, 27, 669-675.
Gurney, J.K, Kersting, U.G., & Rosenbaum, D. (2008). Between-day reliability of repeated pressure distribution measurements in a normal population. Gait and Posture, 27, 706-709.
Menz, H.B., & Morris, M.E. (2006). Clinical determinants of plantar forces and pressures during walking in older people. Gait and Posture, 24, 229-236.