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Chiropractic Research Review

Foot Structure Influences Lower Extremity Behavior

Recreational and professional athletes, particularly runners, require optimum foot stability and comfort. An understanding of individual foot structure and its effect on leg/foot activity may assist in rehabilitation and injury prevention.

This study evaluated 20 recreational runners to determine the effect of foot structure on the three-dimensional (3D) kinematic behavior of the leg and rear foot.

Twenty runners were assigned to a low rear-foot group or a high rear-foot group based upon predetermined radiographic criteria. 3D data collected during treadmill running suggested an inverse relationship between the two groups in terms of rotation:

* Subjects in the low rear-foot group demonstrated greater magnitudes of total calcaneal eversion and inversion rotation compared with tibial medial and lateral rotation;

* Subjects in the high rear-foot group showed greater magnitudes of tibial medial and lateral rotation compared with calcaneal eversion and inversion.

The assessment of coupling between the rear foot and leg may improve clinical understanding of injuries related to foot structure. Traditionally, frontal visual assessment of foot biomechanics is performed during examination. This study demonstrates that 3D assessment may be necessary to obtain a clear clinical picture of pathological mechanics. Clinical application of this article resides in the new diagnostic knowledge afforded by the researchers and in their recommendation that orthotics and footwear can be directed at controlling abnormal motions.

Nawoczenski DA, Saltzman CL, Cook TM. The effect of foot structure on the three-dimensional kinematic coupling behavior of the leg and rear foot. Physical Therapy, April 1998:78(4), pp404-416.

Chiropractic Research Review

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