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A multi-segment kinematic model of the foot with a novel definition of forefoot motion for use in clinical gait analysis during walking

Jenkyn, T. and Nicol, A.C. (2007) A multi-segment kinematic model of the foot with a novel definition of forefoot motion for use in clinical gait analysis during walking. Journal of Biomechanics, 40 (14). pp. 3271-3278. ISSN 0021-9290

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Abstract

A multi-segment kinematic model of the foot was developed for use in a gait analysis laboratory. The foot was divided into hindfoot, talus, midfoot and medial and lateral forefoot segments. Six functional joints were defined: ankle and subtalar joints, frontal and transverse plane motions of the hindfoot relative to midfoot, supination/pronation twist of the forefoot relative to midfoot and medial longitudinal arch height-to-length ratio. Twelve asymptomatic subjects were tested during barefoot walking with a six-camera optical stereometric system and auto-reflective markers organized in triads. Repeatability of the joint motions was tested using coefficients of multiple correlation. Ankle and subtalar joint motions and twisting of the forefoot were most repeatable. Hindfoot motions were least repeatable both within-subjects and between-subjects. Hindfoot and forefoot pronation in the frontal plane was found to coincide with dropping of the medial longitudinal arch between early to mid-stance, followed by supination and rising of the arch in late stance and swing phase. This multi-segment foot model addresses an unfortunate shortcoming in current gait analysis practice-the inability to measure motion within the foot. Such measurements are crucial if gait analysis is to remain relevant in the orthopaedic and rehabilitative treatment of the foot and ankle.