The relationship of the position of the metatarsal heads and peak plantar pressure

We test the premise that peak plantar pressure is located directly under the bony prominences in the forefoot region. The right foot of standing volunteers was examined in three different postures by a CT-scanner. The plantar pressure distribution was simultaneously recorded. The position of the metatarsal heads and the sesamoids could be related to the corresponding local peak plantar pressures. The metatarsal heads 1, 4, and 5 had a significantly different position than the local peak plantar pressures. The average difference in distance between the position of the metatarsal heads and the peak plantar pressure showed a significant correlation: on the medial side the head was located more distally to the local peak plantar pressure, on the lateral side more proximally. The findings suggest that normal plantar soft tissue is able to deflect a load. The observations might improve insight into the function of the normal forefoot and might direct further research on the pathological forefoot and on the design of footwear.

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