Plantar pressure distribution is considered a significant indicator of various foot pathologies as it provides valuable information regarding gait kinematics and ground reaction forces acting on the foot.
In order to better understand the importance of plantar pressure in diagnosing foot disorders, it is essential to learn the differences between plantar pressure distribution in a normal and pathological foot.
A study published in Polish Journal of Medical Physics And Engineering used the dynamic pedobarograph measurements of normal and abnormal feet to demonstrate the correlation between irregular peak pressures and pathological conditions.
The pathological group was found to have no definite roll over of the centre of pressure from the heel to the toes like that seen in normal subjects, with the heel pressure being lower in this group compared to the healthy participants.
In addition to this, the pressure distribution of the callused foot was observed to be negligible, as the subject was unable to bear any pressure in the callused area.
Maximum peak pressure was present in the mid-foot and little to no pressure was applied to the heel and forefoot during heel strike and toe-off.
These results signify the potential effectiveness of using plantar pressure as a biomechanical tool in detecting weak load distribution that causes conditions of the lower extremity.
The efficacy of custom made orthotics in the redistribution of plantar pressure makes its inclusion in preventative and treatment strategies important for the long-term management of various foot problems, especially high-risk conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Orthotics prepared with a semi-weightbearing cast such as MASS4D™ have been proved to offer maximum reduction in local peak pressures when compared to other insole designs.
Tsung et al. corroborated this finding by assessing mean peak pressure, contact area and pressure-time integral in six subjects with diabetes mellitus and sensory neuropathy. These results were then compared with eight normal individuals.
Dynamic plantar foot pressure patterns were compared in five support conditions – shoe-only, flat insole and three contoured insoles.
The contoured insoles were custom-moulded by casting the plantar surface of the foot under the conditions of non-weightbearing, semi-weightbearing and full weightbearing.
Contoured insoles were observed to be significantly better than flat insoles at reducing local peak pressure and pressure-time integral while increasing the contact area.
The insoles with the semi-weightbearing foot impression were found to offer significant peak pressure reduction in the second to third metatarsal heads compared to the other insole designs.
MASS4D® custom made orthotics promote speedy recovery of the individual by minimising stress on the affected regions and by providing proper support to the foot to facilitate healthy distribution of weight whilst preventing the onset of a number of musculoskeletal conditions.
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