The impact of hallux valgus on foot kinematics: a cross-sectional, comparative study

Background: Hallux valgus is a very common foot deformity in modern societies. The impact of this condition on foot function has been described qualitatively and quantitatively. Published patho-mechanical models are mainly underpinned by findings originating from plantar pressure measurements. However, the kinematical patterns of the many foot segments during gait have not been quantified. This study aims to evaluate the kinematics of the various foot segments in the presence of this deformity.

Methods: Using the Oxford Foot Model and a 12-camera Motion Analysis System, gait analysis was conducted on a convenience sample of 20 participants with hallux valgus and compared to that of 22 randomly selected symptom-free volunteers. Differences between temporal and kinematical data between groups were analyzed using the unpaired parametric Student t-test (significance level p<0.01).

Results: During specific gait events, a different range of motion was found at several inter-segment angles. Particularly, the range of motion of the hallux (sagittal plane) and hindfoot (frontal-transverse planes) during stance were significantly different (p<0.01).

Conclusion: Sagittal plane kinematics of the hallux is affected by the first ray deformity in this condition. However, the impact on other segments was found to be limited. This suggests that the patho-mechanical consequences remain limited to the weight bearing function of the first ray.

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