Foot segmental motion and coupling in stage II and III tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction

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Abstract

Background:

Classification systems developed in the field of posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction omit to include dynamic measurements. Since this may negatively affect the selection of the most appropriate treatment modality, studies on foot kinematics are highly recommended. Previous research characterised the foot kinematics in patients with posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction. However, none of the studies analysed foot segmental motion synchrony during stance phase, nor compared the kinematic behaviour of the foot in presence of different posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction stages. Therefore, we aimed at comparing foot segmental motion and coupling in patients with posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction grade 2 and 3 to those of asymptomatic subjects.

Methods:

Foot segmental motion of 11 patients suffering from posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction stage 2, 4 patients with posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction stage 3 and 15 asymptomatic subjects was objectively quantified with the Rizzoli foot model using an instrumented walkway and a 3D passive motion capture system. Dependent variables were the range of motion occurring at the different inter-segment angles during subphases of stance and swing phase as well as the cross-correlation coefficient between a number of segments.

Results:

Significant differences in range of motion were predominantly found during the forefoot push off phase and swing phase. In general, both patient cohorts demonstrated a reduced range of motion compared to the control group. This hypomobility occurred predominantly in the rearfoot and midfoot (p < 0.01). Significant differences between both posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction patient cohorts were not revealed. Cross-correlation coefficients highlighted a loss of joint coupling between rearfoot and tibia as well as between rearfoot and forefoot in both posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction groups.

Interpretation:

The current evidence reveals considerable mechanical alterations in the foot which should be considered in the decision making process since it may help explaining the success and failure of certain conservative and surgical interventions.

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