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Foot Kinematics and Foot Orthotics

by MASS4D® Prescription Orthotics November 18, 2016


The quantitative effect of an orthotic intervention on gait, particularly 3-dimensional walking gait kinematics, has always produced inconsistent results largely due to the foot model, participants and orthoses used in the intervention.

Recent studies using multisegment foot models, revealed differences in gait kinematics in the joints distal to the calcaneus, among participants with different foot postures.

Hence in order to better understand the mechanical effects of orthotic intervention, it becomes important to study its impact on participants with abnormal foot posture.

Cobb et al. sought to examine the effect of a 2-week foot-orthosis (FO) intervention on multisegment medial foot kinematics during walking in people with low-mobile foot posture.

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8 optical video cameras were used to record 3-dimensional coordinate data from 16 participants with low-mobile foot posture. Retroreflective markers were placed on the leg and foot segments of interest.

4 functional articulations were used for the foot segmentation model - rearfoot complex, calcaneonavicular complex, medial forefoot and first metatarsophalangeal complex.

2 types of orthoses were chosen for the study - balanced traditional orthosis (BALORT) and a full-contact orthosis (FCORT) - since both affect foot function differently.

While FO intervention did affect walking gait kinematics, the only significant difference observed between the FO and no-FO condition, was in the sagittal plane of the rearfoot complex during midstance.

Rearfoot complex dorsiflexion displacement, in particular, was found to be greater in the FO condition, suggesting improved foot kinematics in people with low-mobile foot postures.

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  1. Stephen C. Cobb, Laurie L. Tis, Jeffrey T. Johnson, Yong “Tai” Wang, Mark D. Geil (2011) Custom-Moulded Foot-Orthosis Intervention and Multisegment Medial Foot Kinematics During Walking. Journal of Athletic Training: August 2011, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 358-365.

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