The validity of footprint-based measures of arch structure: revisiting the debate of fat versus flat feet in adults
© Lau et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012
Published: 10 April 2012
Previous research employing footprint-based measures of arch structure, such as the arch index (AI), have indicated that obesity results in a ‘flatter’ foot type . In the absence of radiographic measures, however, definitive conclusions regarding the osseous alignment of the foot cannot be made. This study evaluated the effect of Body Mass Index (BMI) on radiographic and footprint-based measures of adult arch structure.
Materials and Methods
Both BMI (β=0.39, P=0.04) and CMT1 angle (β=0.51, P<0.01) were significant predictors of footprint-based measures of arch structure (AI). The CMT1 angle accounted for 30% of the variability in AI, while BMI accounted for 15% of the variation in AI. In contrast, CMT1 angle was not significantly associated with BMI (β=-0.03, P=0.89) when AI and age were held constant. Age was not a significant predictor of either index.
Adult obesity does not influence the osseous alignment of the medial longitudinal arch, but selectively distorts footprint-based measures of arch structure. Consequently, footprint-based measures should be interpreted with caution when comparing groups of adults with varying body composition.
Mr Lau is funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant and a Queensland Academy of Sport Fellowship. Dr Wearing is funded through a Smart Futures Fellowship, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland Government.
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