Perception of large change in distribution of heel pressure during backward leaning

We investigated the perception of the large change in distribution of heel pressure during backward leaning. Subjects were 12 healthy adults who reported perceiving a large change in distribution of heel pressure by a handheld switch while leaning voluntarily backward on a sole pressure analyzer and on a heel force plate. The large change was indicated at the center of heel pressure. Morphological features of the foot were measured on an X-ray film. The position of heel pressure center and the morphological locations were represented as relative distance (%) from the hindmost point of the heel, where foot length represented 100%. Center of heel pressure changed largely during backward leaning, and the position at which large change occurred was the same as that of the peak of the distribution. Large change in distribution of heel pressure was perceived at a position 1.3% posterior from that at which the large change actually occurred. The correlation between perceived and actual positions was significant (r = .91). Significant correlations were found between position of a large change of center and locations of heel pressure of both the lateral process of the calcaneal tuberosity and the top of the talar trochlea (r = .86; r = .71, respectively). The results indicate that subjects accurately perceive large changes in distribution of heel pressure and that the morphological features of the foot contribute to these changes.

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