Comparison of the two-step and midgait methods of plantar pressure measurement in children

Background: Plantar pressure measures can be a useful way to clinically track dynamic foot function in children. Different protocols to collect plantar pressures exist–mainly, a midgait method that measures plantar pressures in the midst of a longer walk and a two-step method for which plantar pressures are obtained on the second step. These two methods have been compared in adults with and without disabilities but not in children. We investigated the concurrent validity and reliability of the midgait and two-step methods.

Methods: Plantar pressure data variables of contact area, contact time, peak pressure, and pressure-time integral were compared between these two methods in children of typical development (ages 5 to 14.5 years) in the heel, midfoot, and forefoot. Paired t tests were used to evaluate the validity of the two-step method. Paired sample correlations and Bland-Altman plots were also used to compare both methods. Intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to determine reliability.

Results: Both methods were reliable and differed only in contact time across all foot regions, with the midgait method having shorter contact times than the two-step method.

Conclusion: Plantar pressure data collected with the two-step method are comparable to those collected with the midgait method and may be preferred for children because of ease and speed of data collection. Further investigation is necessary to have a more complete understanding of how these findings may apply to children with disabilities.

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