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Consequences of Pediatric Obesity on the Foot and Ankle Complex

by MASS4D® Prescription Orthotics June 26, 2018


The purpose of this study was to determine whether anthropometric differences exist in the foot and ankle complex between obese and non-obese children.

Ten obese and ten non-obese children (14 boys and 6 girls) participated in this study.

The arch height index measurement system, developed at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, was used for all of the arch height measurements.

Measurements were taken while the participant was sitting (nonweightbearing) and standing (weightbearing).

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Arch height parameters were calculated to assess the effect of excess mass on foot mobility.

Arch height index was used to measure foot flexibility when moving from a seated to a standing position.

The arch rigidity index ratio was measured to determine the ability of the foot to maintain the structural arch when placed in a weightbearing position.

Arch drop was used to determine the amount of flexibility that occurs in the foot when transferring from a nonweightbearing to a weightbearing position.

The bisection of the calcaneus was determined before measuring any foot alignment parameter. To identify this landmark, the calcaneus was palpated along its medial and lateral borders.

The forefoot-rearfoot relationship was used to describe the effect of the forefoot on pronation through the identification of foot type.

The resting calcaneal stance position was used to describe the position of the hindfoot (ie, varus or valgus) as it relates to biomechanical function.

The malleolar valgus index was assessed to quantify the degree of pronatory malalignment in the rearfoot while weightbearing.

Active ankle dorsiflexion was measured with the participant prone on a plinth and the knee at 0 degree of extension and 90 degree of flexion.

Although no significant findings existed in the foot morphology parameters, significant differences in active ankle dorsiflexion and several arch height parameters were found between obese and non-obese children.

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  1. Shultz, S. P., Sitler, M. R., Tierney, R. T., Hillstrom, H. J., Song, J. (2012) Consequences of Pediatric Obesity on the Foot and Ankle Complex. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: January/February 2012, Vol. 102, No. 1, pp. 5-12

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