UBC Faculty Research and Publications

An exploration of changes in plantar pressure distributions during walking with standalone and supported lateral wedge insole designs Tse, Calvin; Ryan, Michael B.; Tse, Calvin; Ryan, Michael B.; Dien, Jason; Scott, Alex; Hunt, Michael A.


Background Lateral wedge insoles (LWI), standalone or with medial arch support (supported-LWI), have been thoroughly investigated for their effects on modifying gait biomechanics for people with knee osteoarthritis. However, plantar pressure distribution between these insole types has not been investigated and could provide insight towards insole prescription with concomitant foot symptoms taken into consideration. Methods In a sample of healthy individuals (n = 40), in-shoe plantar pressure was measured during walking with LWI, with or without medial arch support (variable- and uniform-stiffness designs), and a flat control insole condition. Pressure data from the plantar surface of the foot were divided into seven regions: medial/lateral rearfoot, midfoot, medial/central/lateral forefoot, hallux. Plantar pressure outcomes assessed were the medial-lateral pressure index (MLPI) for the whole foot, and the peak pressure, pressure-time integral (PTI), and contact area in each plantar region. Comfort in each insole condition was rated as a change relative to the flat control insole condition. Repeated-measures analyses of variance were calculated to compare the plantar pressure outcomes between insole conditions. Results Regionally, medial rearfoot and forefoot pressure were reduced by all wedged insoles, with the variable-stiffness supported-wedge showing greater reductions than the standalone wedge. Lateral rearfoot and forefoot pressure were reduced by both supported-LWI, but unchanged by the standalone wedge. In the midfoot, the standalone wedge maintained pressure but reduced regional contact area, while both supported-LWI increased midfoot pressure and contact area. All LWI increased the MLPI, indicating a lateral shift in plantar pressure distribution throughout the weightbearing phase of gait. Comfort ratings were not significantly different between insole conditions. Conclusions Regional differences in plantar pressure may help determine an appropriate lateral wedge insole variation to avoid exacerbation of concomitant foot symptoms by minimizing pressure in symptomatic regions. Lateral shifts in plantar pressure distribution were observed in all laterally wedged conditions, including one supported-LWI that was previously shown to be biomechanically ineffective for modifying knee joint load distribution. Thus, shifts in foot centre of pressure may not be a primary mechanism by which LWI can modify knee joint load distribution for people with knee osteoarthritis.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)