A Proof-of-Concept Study for Measuring Gait Speed, Steadiness, and Dynamic Balance Under Various Footwear Conditions Outside of the Gait Laboratory



The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of custom and prefabricated foot orthoses on self-selected walking speed, intercycle gait speed variability, and dynamic balance measured by the range of motion of centre of mass in the mediolateral direction and during each gait cycle.

Each participant received a standard prescription for custom functional foot orthoses posted with the forefoot balanced to the rearfoot deformity. Minimum to medium arch fill was used.

Participants walked in habitual shoes that were judged not to have excessive wear or alignment issues.

The Physilog was used to record data using five sensors to measure the angular velocity of the segment around the mediolateral axis.

Participants were instructed to walk at their habitual speed under the following conditions: barefoot, wearing habitual shoes (shoes alone), wearing habitual shoes and custom foot orthoses, and wearing habitual shoes and prefabricated foot orthoses.

An increase in self-selected walking speed of 13% was observed in the participants whilst wearing custom foot orthoses, compared with the barefoot condition and 10% compared with the regular shoe condition.

Using overground walking in a free condition, the authors demonstrated that gait automaticity is improved by wearing custom foot orthoses, indicating better sensory feedback information during the custom foot orthoses condition.

Custom foot orthoses were found to improve dynamic postural control during walking by reducing the centre of mass range of motion in the mediolateral direction.

References:

  1. James S. Wrobel, Sarah Edgar, Dana Cozzetto, James Maskill, Paul Peterson, Bijan Najafi (2010) A Proof-of-Concept Study for Measuring Gait Speed, Steadiness, and Dynamic Balance Under Various Footwear Conditions Outside of the Gait Laboratory. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: July/August 2010, Vol. 100, No. 4, pp. 242-250

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