October 2011

Prefabricated foot orthoses improve some balance measures but not all

In the moment: O&P

A study from Northern Illinois University (NIU) mirrors the conflicting evidence regarding foot orthoses and balance, finding that prefabricated orthoses significantly improved some but not all postural control measures in healthy volunteers.

Hamid Bateni, PhD, an assistant professor of physical therapy at NIU, and colleagues analyzed postural control variables in 12 healthy young adults as they stood as quietly as possible on a force platform with and without prefabricated foot orthoses.

They found that the mean position of the center of pressure (COP) significantly shifted forward and toward the dominant side; the resultant root mean square of the mediolateral range of COP movement changed significantly; the 95% confidence circle area of sway significantly decreased; and total power in the anteroposterior direction significantly increased with use of the orthoses. The resultant root mean square of the COP distance also changed substantially, although the change was not statistically significant. However, seven other variables, including COP velocity, did not change with orthosis use.

The findings were presented in September at the annual AOPA meeting.

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