The effect of two types of foot orthoses on rearfoot mechanics

Little experimental data exist regarding the comparative biomechanical of various foot orthoses. This study evaluated the comparative effect of biomechanical orthoses and over-the-counter arch supports on controlling rearfoot pronation. Twenty-four patients with forefoot varus deformity were studied while walking on a treadmill. Two-dimensional, videotape motion analysis was used for studying rearfoot mechanics with three experimental conditions: 1) shoes only, 2) shoes plus arch supports, and 3) shoes plus biomechanical orthoses. The variables studied were: maximum pronation, calcaneal eversion, maximum pronation velocity, time-to-maximum pronation, and total pronation. No difference was noted in maximum pronation, calcaneal eversion, and total pronation between the three conditions. The data for maximum pronation velocity and time-to-maximum pronation were not reliable. Based on the results of this study, padded arch supports nor biomechanical orthoses can be preferentially recommended for their ability to control maximum pronation, calcaneal eversion, and total pronation during walking. Additional research is necessary to: 1) identify the biomechanical effects that are responsible for the clinical success of foot orthoses, and 2) determine better designs for controlling rearfoot movement.

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