January 2019

Arch Height Does Not Affect Foot or General Health QOL

Foot-arch height does not affect specific foot and general health-related quality of life (QOL), according to a recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Given that the prevalence of foot structure problems is reported to be 46% to 80% in clinical practice and institutional patients, the authors sought to understand how foot structure problems affect functional impairment and foot and ankle pain in the adult population. Specifically, they sought to determine whether relatively high and low foot arches affect QOL.

Using a cross-sectional study design, the researchers recruited 138 adults (age range, 18 to 64 years) from a private podiatric medicine and surgery center in A Coruña, Spain. Participants were asked about medical status, including age, sex, actual and previous sporting activities, medical history, and family history; assessments included height, weight, and body mass index.

Footprints, captured by the photopodogram method, were then obtained for all participants. This method consists of painting the sole of the foot with liquid paper developer and having the participant stand in a bipedal position on white paper on a flat horizontal area for 60 seconds. These footprints were then analyzed using AreaCalc v2.6 software. Three types of index arch were identified: low arch (<0.21 ), normal arch (0.21-0.26), and high arch (>26).

Participants were then asked to complete the Foot-Health Status Questionnaire (FHSQ), a validated QOL tool that measures foot conditions on a scale of 0 (poorest) to 100 (best). The FHSQ has various domains that examine the topics listed in the Figure, as well as other sections that look at sociodemographic variables  and medical records.

The researchers found no significant sociodemographic differences among the groups, except for sex distribution: 106 females vs 32 males (p <.001). The results of the FHSQ showed no statistically significant difference among the groups.

As a result, the researchers concluded that foot-arch height—high, low, or normal—did not seem to be related to QOL impairments to the foot or overall health.

Source: López-López D, Vilar-Fernández JM, Barros-Garcia G, et al. Foot arch height and quality of life in adults: a strobe observational study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(7). pii: E1555 doi:10.3390/ijerph15071555 www.mdpi

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