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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1757-1146-4-18) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Reed Ferber and Brittany Benson contributed equally to this work.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
RF and BB developed the rationale for the study, designed the study protocol, conducted the data collections, processed the data, and drafted the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Semi-custom foot orthoses (SCO) are thought to be a cost-effective alternative to custom-made devices. However, previous biomechanical research involving either custom or SCO has only focused on rearfoot biomechanics. The purpose of this study was therefore to determine changes in multi-segment foot biomechanics during shod walking with and without an SCO. We chose to investigate an SCO device that incorporates a heat-moulding process, to further understand if the moulding process would significantly alter rearfoot, midfoot, or shank kinematics as compared to a no-orthotic condition. We hypothesized the SCO, whether moulded or non-moulded, would reduce peak rearfoot eversion, tibial internal rotation, arch deformation, and plantar fascia strain as compared to the no-orthoses condition.
Twenty participants had retroreflective markers placed on the right limb to represent forefoot, midfoot, rearfoot and shank segments. 3D kinematics were recorded using an 8-camera motion capture system while participants walked on a treadmill.
Plantar fascia strain was reduced by 34% when participants walked in either the moulded or non-moulded SCO condition compared to no-orthoses. However, there were no significant differences in peak rearfoot eversion, tibial internal rotation, or medial longitudinal arch angles between any conditions.
A semi-custom moulded orthotic does not control rearfoot, shank, or arch deformation but does, however, reduce plantar fascia strain compared to walking without an orthoses. Heat-moulding the orthotic device does not have a measurable effect on any biomechanical variables compared to the non-moulded condition. These data may, in part, help explain the clinical efficacy of orthotic devices.
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- Changes in multi-segment foot biomechanics with a heat-mouldable semi-custom foot orthotic device
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