The effects of pronated foot posture and medial heel and forefoot wedge orthoses on static balance in older people
© Hemmati et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
Published: 8 April 2014
Aging has been associated with increasing foot pronation  and changes in foot mobility and posture which may influence standing balance [2, 3]. Orthotic interventions change foot posture  and load distribution under the foot  and therefore may have important effects on balance in older people.
To investigate whether a pronated foot posture is associated with poorer standing balance in older people and whether medial heel and forefoot wedge orthoses affect their standing balance.
Between groups, repeated-measures design.
Ten healthy older people with a pronated foot posture (age 67.1± 5.5 years) and sixteen healthy elderly with normal foot posture (age 67.1± 5.9 years) were recruited.The Foot Posture Index (FPI) was used to determine pronated and normal foot posture. Static balance in double limb stance was assessed using Kistler force plate measures during four shod conditions: 1) 5° medial heel and forefoot wedge (W5); 2) 8° medial heel and forefoot wedge (W8); 3) Control insole for W5 (flat EVA base with the same thickness as W5 (NW5)); 4) Control insole for W8 (flat EVA base with the same thickness as W8 (NW8)). Each of the four cases was completed with eyes open and eyes closed. The center-of-pressure (COP) total excursion and mean velocity and area of 95% confidence ellipse were derived as measures of standing balance.
There were no statistically significant effects from the four orthoses in the pronated nor the normal foot types (p<0.05). There were no significant differences in interaction of all conditions (foot posture × eye condition × orthoses) (p<0.05).
A trend towards less stable balance was observed in pronated foot type but this was not significant. Use of orthoses had no effect on balance parameters including negating the effects of eyes closed. Orthoses showed no negative effects on standing balance and therefore do not pose a threat to balance (e.g. if they are used for another purpose).
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