Foot Morphology in Chinese Adolescents Aged Between 13 to 18 Years Varies by Gender and Age

BACKGROUND We recently reported age and gender differences in foot shape and size in Chinese school children aged between 7-12 years. This study aimed to analyze age and gender differences in foot shape and size in Chinese adolescents aged between 13-18 years. MATERIAL AND METHODS The study included 1,252 adolescent boys and 1274 adolescent girls from seven regions in China. Twelve measurements of foot shape were recorded using a video filming system. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) compared the changes in the measurements with age. An independent t-test was used to analyze gender-associated differences in foot size and shape. RESULTS In adolescent boys, foot length and width increased significantly at 13-14 years and heel width, arch height, and fifth metatarsal head height increased until 18 years (P<0.05). In adolescent girls, most foot measurements ceased to increase after 15 years, except for arch height. Adolescent boys showed significantly larger foot length, width, height, and girth compared with adolescent girls (P<0.05) (Cohen’s d effect size >0.8). Adolescent boys showed a significant increase in ball width and girth, and instep length and height compared with adolescent girls, who had a longer medial foot length and higher fifth metatarsal head height compared with adolescent boys (P<0.05) (Cohen’s d effect size >0.5). CONCLUSIONS Age and gender associated differences were found in foot measurements in Chinese adolescents, aged between 13-18 years. These differences should be considered by shoe manufacturers and when making clinical decisions about normal foot development.

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