September 2018

Foot Type Determines Effect of Orthotics on Muscle Activity

Fig 2. Effects of FOs with and without lateral bar on the activity of the tibialis anterior muscle. No significant differences were observed during the gait cycle

By Nicole Wetsman

Adding a lateral bar beneath foot orthoses does not significantly alter activity in the pronator muscles in people with high-arched feet, according to preliminary data from a poster entitled, Effects of Two Types of Foot Orthoses on the Biomechanics of Participants with Cavus Feet During Walking.2

During the course of the study, 15 participants with cavus feet walked quickly over a 5-meter walkway while wearing orthoses with no lateral bar, orthoses with a 1-centimeter wide lateral bar, and shoes only. Data on the electrical activity at the tibialis anterior, fibularis longus, medial and lateral gastrocnemius muscles were collected for participants during the various conditions. There were no significant differences in the monitored muscles between the two orthotic conditions in the preliminary data (eg, figure 2 above).

The research was conducted as a follow up to a prior project assessing the effect of a lateral bar on patients with more neutral, non-cavus feet, said poster author Gabriel Moisan, DPM, MSc, a researcher at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in Canada and lead author. In that project, the addition of a lateral bar in the orthotic was able to significantly decrease muscle activity in the peroneus longus muscle.

“We think that this happens because people with cavus feet have more rigid feet, so the lateral bar was not able to counter the pressure made by the longitudinal arch of the orthotic,” Moisan said.

The results from the two studies demonstrate that individuals with varying foot types will have different responses to orthotics. The findings also highlight the importance of a foot type assessment by clinicians when prescribing inserts, Moisan said. “This will add to current knowledge of what orthotics do,” he said.


Posters presented at American Podiatric Medical Association 2018 Annual Meeting

  1. Alalwee, A, Spergel, G, Santi, L et al. The Outcomes of Local Flushing of Insulin on Wound Healing in Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers.
  2. Moisan, G, Descarreaux, M, Cantin, V, et al. Effects of Two Types of Foot Orthoses on the Biomechanics of Participants with Cavus Feet During Walking.
  3. Schick, F, Taweel, N. A Non-surgical Approach to Arteriovenous Malformation of the Foot.
  4. Brock, K, Walters, J. Is the Operating Room Always Necessary? Office Based Toe Amputations for Osteomyelitis.
  5. Cole, W. Management of Small, Lower Extremity Wounds in the Ambulatory Setting Using a Disposable, Mechanically Powered Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.