Sagittal Plane Motion of the Human Arch During Gait: A Videofluoroscopic Analysis

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Despite an abundance of literature investigating arch structure and musculoskeletal injury, there seems to be little consensus regarding the most appropriate technique of measuring dynamic arch motion. In this study, digitized videofluoroscopy was used to determine the sagittal plane motion of the medial longitudinal arch during dynamic gait. Nine female subjects requiring diagnostic foot radiographs underwent videofluoroscopy during a normal gait cycle. The calcaneal inclination angle, calcaneal-first metatarsal angle (CI-MT1) and height-to-length ratio of the arch, all reputed to measure arch alignment, were digitally analyzed from static radiographic images. Both the calcaneal inclination angle (0.96) and CI-MT1 (−0.98) angles were highly correlated with the criterion measure of height-to-length ratio. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) identified a significant increase in the mean CI-MT1 angle during stance, suggesting a continual lowering and elongation of the arch. This study questions the validity of characterizing foot motion based on static measures of arch shape and recommends that further research be conducted to establish whether the observed trends reflect normal or pathological foot function.

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