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01-12-2021 | Review | Uitgave 1/2021 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2021

Foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2021
Auteurs:
Rania N. Almeheyawi, Alessio Bricca, Jody L. Riskowski, Ruth Barn, Martijn Steultjens
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Publisher’s Note

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Abbreviations
3D
Three-dimensional
BMI
Body mass index
FPA
Foot progression angle
FPI
Foot posture index
KAM
Knee adduction moment
KL
Kellgren-Lawrence scoring system
KOA
Knee osteoarthritis
MD
Mean difference
mm
Millimetre
SD
Standard deviation
SMD
Standardized mean difference
STROBE
Strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology
ROM
Range of motion
VPT
Vibratory perception threshold

Background

Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a degenerative progressive joint disease characterized by chronic joint pain and stiffness, leading to the limitation of daily living activities and physical function [ 13]. KOA is estimated to affect 18% of adults over 45 years of age [ 4] and is a leading cause of functional disability [ 5]. Aetiology of KOA includes traumatic injury [ 6], genetics [ 7], obesity [ 8], and poor joint biomechanics, with poor biomechanics a likely cause of primary progressive KOA [ 9].
Given the important role of the foot in receiving and distributing forces during walking, foot characteristics and mechanics, including static foot posture and dynamic foot function, may significantly contribute to musculoskeletal conditions of the lower limb [ 10]. However, the specific associations between foot characteristics and mechanics and KOA [ 11] have not yet been investigated. Therefore, the primary purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA and compare them to people without KOA. There were two aims of the study: 1) to provide an overview of the foot characteristics and mechanics that have been evaluated in the extant literature in people with KOA, and 2) to investigate whether foot characteristics and mechanics vary between people with and without KOA.

Methods

This systematic review was submitted and approved through the PROSPERO registry of systematic reviews (CRD42015023946), and it followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines [ 12].

Search strategy and study selection

Five electronic databases were searched: MEDLINE, Web of Science, Current Nursing and Allied Health literature (CINAHL), Physical Education Index, and Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro). The searches were conducted in May 2020, with no restrictions by language, year of publication or study design. The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) search terms adopted were “foot” and “knee osteoarthritis” using the Boolean operator AND.
Studies were evaluated for relevance by applying specific inclusion and exclusion criteria (see Table  1). At the title stage, one reviewer (RA) eliminated publications, with a second reviewer (JLR) verifying the results. At the abstract stage, two reviewers (RA and JLR) independently reviewed abstracts for inclusion, and reference lists of prior KOA review articles were searched to include relevant studies. For manuscripts included following the abstract stage, full-text articles were obtained and independently reviewed for inclusion by reviewers (RA and JLR).
Table 1
Study inclusion criteria
Criteria
Description
Study design
Studies with cross-sectional data or intervention data if the baseline data were available.
Study participants
Studies were included if they recruited participants with KOA; where a control group was included, they had to be otherwise healthy and free from KOA.
Study outcome domains
Studies had to include objective measures of foot mechanics or foot characteristics to be eligible. Objective measures of foot mechanics or characteristics included, but were not limited to, foot progression angle, rearfoot eversion, Foot Posture Index and muscle activity. Further data could be obtained from participants in a barefoot or shod condition, provided the shod condition was without any foot orthoses.
Study results
Results had to provide quantitative data presented as mean and standard deviation or median and interquartile range clearly indicating if it was collected in a barefoot or shod condition.

Data extraction

Data from the included manuscripts were extracted (RA) and checked (JLR). For each manuscript, the data extracted was as follows: the country, year of study, sample size, age, gender, body mass index (BMI), diagnostic and inclusion criteria for participants, footwear condition (i.e., barefoot, shod), foot-related outcome measures, and foot-related outcome data. For intervention studies, the baseline data were extracted for analysis. The level of agreement was determined using weighted kappa statistics for inclusion/exclusion.

Assessment of study quality

Study quality of the information reported in the included manuscripts were based on the STROBE (STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology) checklist criteria [ 13], which is a reliable quality rating tool for observational studies [ 14]. Each criterion was scored “Yes”, “No”, or not applicable (NA). A criterion received a “Yes” if it was applicable and met in the study, “No” if it was applicable but not met, and “NA” if it was not relevant to the study. The number of “Yes” criterion divided by the number of applicable criterions per manuscript yielded a percentage of the applicable STROBE criteria. Articles were dichotomized by their rating scores, with ≥65% regarded as high-quality studies, and < 65% deemed low-quality. The 65% cut-off point is similar to work conducted by Andrews et al. [ 15] in dichotomizing high and low quality studies. The 65% cut-off point is lower than the recommended cut-off point of 80% [ 16] as the reported foot characteristics and mechanics were often not the study’s primary outcome measure.

Data analysis

Meta-analyses were performed to estimate the differences between the foot characteristics of participants, with and without KOA, for foot progression angle and peak rearfoot eversion angle. Mean differences (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated. The standard deviation (SD) was extracted or estimated from the standard error of the mean, the 95% CI, P value, or other methods as recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration [ 17]. Meta-analyses were performed in STATA (16.1) using the ‘meta’ command. The effect sizes of the meta-analyses are reported in degrees.

Results

Following the implementation of the outlined search strategy, MeSH search yielded 12,736 articles, of which 1837 were duplicate publications (Fig.  1), leaving 10,899 articles for the title stage. Screening at the title stage excluded 10,696 of these articles, leaving 203 articles eligible for the abstract stage. At the abstract stage, 43 titles were added from reference lists and other sources, making a total of 246 articles eligible for the abstract stage, and 136 articles were excluded. A total of 110 articles were then reviewed at the full-text stage and 72 articles were excluded, while one article matching the eligibility criteria was added in the full-text stage from other sources, leaving 39 articles found to have evaluated foot characteristics and/or mechanics in individuals with KOA. Kappa agreement values between the reviewers were 0.79, 0.79, and 0.73 for the title, abstract, and full-text stage, respectively.

Study characteristics

The included studies were published between 2006 and 2020 (Table  2). There were 25 observational studies [ 1822, 25, 27, 29, 32, 33, 3741, 43, 4552, 56] and 14 intervention studies [ 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31, 3436, 42, 44, 5355]. The 39 studies included a total of 2260 participants. In the KOA groups, the sample sizes ranged from eight [ 37] to 123 [ 42] participants, with a mean study sample size of 57 participants. Twenty-two studies included a control population [ 1822, 25, 27, 29, 31, 3741, 4547, 4951, 54, 56], with sample sizes ranging from ten [ 37] to 80 [ 18] participants, and a mean control sample size of 17 participants. Thirty-two studies included both genders [ 18, 19, 2124, 2630, 3335, 3753, 55], while four studies were limited to women [ 20, 32, 54, 56]. Three studies failed to report gender characteristics [ 25, 31, 36].
Table 2
Study and participants’ characteristics (data reported as mean ± standard deviation)
No.
Author
Year published
Country
Subjects subgroups
No. of subjects (Men/ Women)
Age (years)
BMI (kg/m 2)
1
Abourazzak et al. [ 18]
2014
Morocco
KOA
100 (21/79)
59.68 ± 7.64
30.89 ± 4.94
Healthy control
80 (20/60)
48.66 ± 9.30
28.00 ± 3.81
2
Al-Zahrani and Bakheit [ 19]
2002
UK
KOA
58 (14/44)
71 ± 8.40
NR
Healthy control
25 (10/15)
69 ± 7.29
NR
3
Anan et al. [ 20]
2015
Japan
KOA
20 (0/20)
69 ± 4.4
24.4 ± 2.8
Healthy control
17 (0/17)
69.8 ± 4.3
21.3 ± 2.7
4
Arnold et al. [ 21]
2014
Australia
KOA
15 (7/8)
67.0 ± 8.9
30.7 ± 6.2
Healthy control
15 (7/8)
68.2 ± 9.7
25.5 ± 5.3
5
Bechard et al. [ 22]
2012
Canada
KOA
20 (8/12)
55 ± 8
28.9 ± 3.0
Healthy control
20 (12/8)
51 ± 8
25.9 ± 3.2
6
Booij et al. [ 23]
2020
Netherlands
Medial KOA only
30 (14/16)
62.7 ± 5.9
25.5 ± 2.7
7
Butler et al. [ 24]
2009
USA
KOA only
30 (13/17)
63.1 ± 6.8
33.8 ± 6.9
8
Butler et al. [ 25]
2011
USA
Medial KOA
15 (NR/NR)
66.2 ± 7.8
32.2 ± 7.9
Lateral KOA
15 (NR/NR)
65.3 ± 6.4
30.4 ± 7.5
Healthy control
15 (NR/NR)
56.3 ± 10.7
27.8 ± 5.7
9
Chapman et al. [ 26]
2015
UK
KOA only
70 (43/27)
60.3 ± 9.6
30.5 ± ± 4.9
10
Chang et al. [ 27]
2007
USA
KOA only
56 (23/33)
66.6 ± 8.6
29.0 ± 4.2
11
Charlton et al. [ 28]
2018
Canada
Medial KOA only
16 (6/10)
67.4 ± 9.3
24.6 ± 15.1
12
Elbaz et al. [ 29]
2017
Israel
KOA
63 (22/41)
64.2 ± 8.1
NR
Healthy control
30 (21/9)
67.9 ± 8.9
NR
13
Erhart-Hledik et al. [ 30]
2017
Canada
Medial KOA only
10 (9/1)
65.3 ± 9.8
27.8 ± 3.0
14
Gardner et al. [ 31]
2015
USA
KOA
13 (NR/NR)
56.8 ± 5.2
26.6 ± 3.6
Healthy control
11 (NR/NR)
50.0 ± 9.7
25.9 ± 5.4
15
Guler et al. [ 32]
2009
Turkey
KOA only
115 (0/115)
62.11 ± 8.72
32.91 ± 4.14
16
Guo et al. [ 33]
2007
USA
KOA only
10 (6/4)
64 ± 8
29.0 ± 5.6
17
Hinman et al. [ 34]
2012
Australia
KOA only
73 (28/45)
63.3 ± 8.4
27.7 ± 3.6
18
Hinman et al., [ 35]
2016
Australia
KOA only
81 (39/42)
63.3 ± 7.9
29.7 ± 3.7
19
Khan et al. [ 36]
2019
Malaysia
KOA only
20 (NR)
61.5 ± 8.63
NR
20
Krackow et al. [ 37]
2011
USA
KOA
8 (4/4)
59 ± 11.34
33.84 ± 6.90
Healthy control
10 (5/5)
62.50 ± 4.17
28.44 ± 4.23
21
Levinger et al. [ 38]
2010
Australia
KOA
32 (16/16)
65.84 ± 7.57
29.97 ± 5.26
Healthy control
28 (13/15)
65.22 ± 11.41
25.56 ± 3.95
22
Levinger et al. [ 39]
2012a
Australia
KOA
50 (27/23)
66.4 ± 7.6
29.6 ± 5.1
Healthy control
28 (13/15)
65.1 ± 11.2
25.7 ± 3.9
23
Levinger et al. [ 40]
2012b
Australia
KOA
32 (16/16)
65.8 ± 7.5
29.9 ± 5.2
Healthy control
28 (13/15)
65.2 ± 11.4
25.5 ± 3.9
24
Lidtke et al. [ 41]
2010
USA
KOA
25 (6/19)
60.2 ± 10.6
29.2 ± 4.6
Healthy control
25 (12/13)
58.5 ± 9.1
26.6 ± 3.3
25
Nigg et al. [ 42]
2006
Canada
KOA only
123 (56/67)
57.4 ± 2.2
29.5 ± 1.6
26
Ohi et al. [ 43]
2017
Japan
KOA only
88 (30/58)
74.8 ± 7.58
24.3 ± 3.54
27
Paquette et al. [ 44]
2015
USA
KOA
13 (6/7)
62.5 ± 9
28.3 ± 6.5
Healthy control
13 (5/8)
58.9 ± 8.3
23.9 ± 2.6
28
Park et al. [ 45]
2016
Canada
KOA
24 (7/17)
54 ± 7.3
26.1 ± 3.4
Healthy control
24 (8/16)
52.4 ± 10.6
24.7 ± 3.2
29
Reilly et al. [ 46]
2006
UK
KOA
60 (25/35)
67.80 ± 8.09
NR
Healthy control
60 (28/32)
64.92 ± 12.18
NR
30
Reilly et al. [ 47]
2009
UK
Medial KOA
20 (9/11)
63 ± 8.7
NR
Healthy control
20 (4/16)
56 ± 7.3
NR
31
Rutherford et al. [ 48]
2008
Canada
KOA asymptomatic
50 (32/18)
53 ± 10
26 ± 4
KOA mild to moderate
46 (20/26)
60 ± 9
31 ± 5
KOA severe
44 (20/24)
67 ± 8
32 ± 5
32
Rutherford et al. [ 49]
2010
Canada
KOA
17 (10/7)
56 ± 8.8
29.8 ± 6.5
Healthy control
20 (7/13)
46.5 ± 7.0
25.9 ± 4.8
33
Saito et al. [ 50]
2013
Japan
KOA
50 (10/40)
75
NR
Elderly control
44 (8/36)
74
NR
34
Shakoor et al. [ 51]
2008
USA
KOA
27 (5/22)
54 ± 12
37.8 ± 8.6
Healthy control
14 (5/9)
47 ± 14
29.8 ± 5.6
35
Simic et al. [ 52]
2013
Australia
KOA only
22 (9/13)
69.7 ± 9.0
28.4 ± 4.8
36
Tan et al. [ 53]
2020
Australia
KOA only
21 (7/14)
58 ± 8
27.0 ± 4.8
37
Trombini-Souza et al. [ 54]
2011
Brazil
KOA
21 (0/21)
6 5 ± 5
NR
Healthy control
24 (0/24)
65 ± 4
NR
38
Van Tunen et al. [ 55]
2018
Australia
Medial KOA only
21 (9/12)
63.4 ± 7.0
29.8 ± 3.6
39
Zhang et al. [ 56]
2017
China
KOA
23 (0/23)
64.2 ± 6.6
23.3 ± 1.9
Healthy control
23 (0/23)
62.1 ± 2.4
22.6 ± 1.8
Abbreviations: KOA knee osteoarthritis, BMI Body Mass Index, NR not reported

Participant characteristics

Participant age

The mean age of the study participants was 61.5 years, ranging from 47 years [ 51] to 74 years [ 50] in the control groups, and 53 years [ 48] to 75 years [ 50] in KOA groups (Table 2).

Body mass index

In KOA groups, four studies reported a BMI mean of 18.5–24.9 kg/m 2 (normal weight) [ 20, 28, 43, 56]; 19 studies reported participants’ mean BMI of 25–29.9 kg/m 2 (overweight) [ 22, 23, 27, 30, 31, 3335, 3842, 44, 45, 49, 52, 53, 55]; eight studies reported the mean BMI of 30–34.9 kg/m 2 (grade I obese) [ 18, 21, 2426, 32, 37, 48]; and one study reported a mean BMI ≥35 kg/m 2 [ 51] (grade II obese). Seven studies did not report the mean BMI of their participants [ 19, 29, 36, 46, 47, 50, 54]. In control groups, four studies reported a BMI mean of 18.5–24.9 kg/m 2 (normal weight) [ 20, 44, 45, 56]; 12 studies reported participants’ mean BMI of 25–29.9 kg/m 2 (overweight) [ 18, 21, 22, 25, 31, 3741, 48, 51] and six studies did not report the mean BMI of their control participants [ 19, 29, 46, 47, 50, 54].

Participant eligibility criteria

The included studies evaluated foot characteristics and mechanics in those with KOA, yet four studies did not report the KOA diagnostic method used [ 19, 46, 47, 53]. Thirty-five studies diagnosed KOA severity using the Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) scoring system [ 18, 2045, 4852, 5456].

Assessment of study quality

Included studies were assessed for their reporting quality using the STROBE checklist criteria (Table  3). The percentages of STROBE criterion met ranged from 42% [ 19] to 84% [ 43]. Ten studies were categorized as high-quality studies [ 21, 25, 27, 35, 4244, 47, 53, 55], while 29 studies scored less than 65% in relation to the applicable criteria on the STROBE checklist, and were therefore classified as low-quality studies [ 1820, 2224, 26, 2834, 3641, 45, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 54, 56].
Table 3
Assessment of study quality using the STROBE checklist
Item Number
Recommendations
Abourazzak et al., 2014 [ 18]
Al-zahrani amd Bakheit, 2002 [ 19]
Anan et al., 2015 [ 20]
Arnold et al., 2014 [ 21]
Bechard et al., 2012 [ 22]
Booij et al., 2020 [ 23]
Butler et al., 2009 [ 24]
Butler et al., 2011 [ 25]
Charlton et al. 2018 [ 28]
Chang et al., 2007 [ 27]
Chapman et al., 2015 [ 26]
Elbaz et al., 2017 [ 29]
Erhart-Hledik et al., 2017 [ 30]
Gardner et al., 2015 [ 31]
Guler et al., 2009 [ 32]
Guo et al., 2007 [ 33]
Hinman et al., 2012 [ 34]
Hinman et al., 2016 [ 35]
Khan et al., 2019 [ 36]
Krackow et al., 2011 [ 37]
1a
Abstract: study’s design in the title or the abstract
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
1b
Abstract: balanced summary
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
Introduction: background and rationale
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3
Introduction: objectives, including hypotheses
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4
Methods: study design early in the paper
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
5
Methods: setting, locations, and relevant dates, recruitment, data collection
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
6a
Methods: cohort eligibility criteria, follow-up
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
6a
Methods: case-control: eligibility criteria of cases and controls
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
6a
Methods: cross-sectional: eligibility criteria and methods of participants’ selection
NA
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
6b
Methods: cohort: number of exposed and unexposed
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
6b
Methods: case-control: matching criteria
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
7
Methods: define outcomes, exposures, diagnostic criteria
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
8
Methods: sources of data, methods of assessment (measurement)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
9
Methods: how bias addressed
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
10
Methods: power analysis
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
11
Methods: quantitative variables addressed
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
12a
Methods: statistical methods
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
12b
Methods: statistical subgroups and interactions
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
12c
Methods: how missing data addressed
NA
No
NA
No
No
No
NA
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
12d
Methods: cohort: how loss to follow-up addressed
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
12d
Methods: case-control: how matching of cases and controls addressed
No
No
No
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
12d
Methods: cross-sectional: sampling strategy
NA
NA
NA
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
NA
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
NA
No
No
12e
Methods: sensitivity analyses
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
13a
Results: numbers of individuals at each stage
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
13b
Results: reasons for non-participation at each stage
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
13c
Results: use of a flow diagram
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
14a
Results: characteristics of study participants
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
14b
Results: number with missing data
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
14c
Results: cohort: follow-up time
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
15
Results: cohort: summary measures over time
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
15
Results: case-control: summary measures of exposure
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
No
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
15
Results: cross-sectional: numbers of events or measures
NA
NA
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
16a
Results: unadjusted estimates
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
16b
Results: category boundaries
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
NA
No
No
16c
Results: translating relative risk into absolute risk
NA
No
No
Yes
No
NA
No
No
No
No
No
NA
No
NA
NA
No
No
NA
No
No
17
Results: other analyses (subgroups and interactions, and sensitivity)
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
18
Discussion: summarise key results with reference to study objectives
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
19
Discussion: limitations
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
20
Discussion: overall interpretation of results considering other relevant evidence
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
21
Discussion: generalisability of results
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
22
Funding: source of funding
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
%
Total percentage of successfully reported criteria in each study
61
42
58
72
58
58
53
72
50
66
63
64
59
63
48
53
61
94
61
56
Item Number
Recommendations
Levinger et al., 2010 [ 38]
Levinger et al., 2012a [ 39]
Levinger et al., 2012 [ 40]
Lidtke et al., 2010 [ 41]
Nigg et al., 2006 [ 42]
Ohi et al., 2017 [ 43]
Paquette et al., 2015 [ 44]
Park et al., 2016 [ 45]
Reilly et al., 2006 [ 46]
Reilly et al., 2009 [ 47]
Rutherford et al., 2008 [ 48]
Rutherford et al., 2010 [ 49]
Saito et al., 2013 [ 50]
Shakoor et al., 2008 [ 51]
Simic et al., 2013 [ 52]
Tan et al., 2020 [ 53]
Trombini-Souza et al., 2011 [ 54]
Van Tunen et al., 2018 [ 55]
Zhang et al., 2017 [ 56]
1a
Abstract: study’s design in the title or the abstract
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
1b
Abstract: balanced summary
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
Introduction: background and rationale
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3
Introduction: objectives, including hypotheses
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4
Methods: study design early in the paper
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
5
Methods: setting, locations, and relevant dates, recruitment, data collection
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
6a
Methods: cohort eligibility criteria, follow-up
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
6a
Methods: case-control: eligibility criteria of cases and controls
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
6a
Methods: cross-sectional: eligibility criteria and methods of participants’ selection
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
6b
Methods: cohort: number of exposed and unexposed
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
6b
Methods: case-control: matching criteria
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
7
Methods: define outcomes, exposures, diagnostic criteria
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
8
Methods: sources of data, methods of assessment (measurement)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
9
Methods: how bias addressed
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
10
Methods: power analysis
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
11
Methods: quantitative variables addressed
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
12a
Methods: statistical methods
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
12b
Methods: statistical subgroups and interactions
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
12c
Methods: how missing data addressed
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
12d
Methods: cohort: how loss to follow-up addressed
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
12d
Methods: case-control: how matching of cases and controls addressed
NA
No
No
No
NA
NA
No
No
No
NA
NA
No
No
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
No
12d
Methods: cross-sectional: sampling strategy
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
NA
NA
Yes
No
NA
NA
No
NA
Yes
No
No
NA
12e
Methods: sensitivity analyses
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
13a
Results: numbers of individuals at each stage
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
13b
Results: reasons for non-participation at each stage
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
13c
Results: use of a flow diagram
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
14a
Results: characteristics of study participants
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
14b
Results: number with missing data
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
14c
Results: cohort: follow-up time
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
15
Results: cohort: summary measures over time
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
15
Results: case-control: summary measures of exposure
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
No
Yes
Yes
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Yes
15
Results: cross-sectional: numbers of events or measures
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
16a
Results: unadjusted estimates
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
16b
Results: category boundaries
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
16c
Results: translating relative risk into absolute risk
NA
No
No
NA
No
NA
No
NA
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
17
Results: other analyses (subgroups and interactions, and sensitivity)
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
NA
No
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
18
Discussion: summarise key results with reference to study objectives
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
19
Discussion: limitations
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
20
Discussion: overall interpretation of results considering other relevant evidence
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
21
Discussion: generalisability of results
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
22
Funding: source of funding
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
%
Total percentage of successfully reported criteria in each study
56
60
63
62
83
84
69
58
61
81
63
63
52
63
60
69
50
69
48
Abbreviation: NA not applicable
Among the common criterion not met included methods for addressing potential bias, with six meeting this criterion [ 26, 27, 35, 36, 43, 47]; study generalizability and external validity, with 11 meeting this criterion [ 27, 3335, 4244, 46, 47, 55, 56]; and sample size calculations provided, with 12 meeting this criterion [ 22, 24, 25, 30, 36, 42, 44, 46, 47, 5254].

Outcomes measures

Twenty-four studies included measures of participants taken while barefoot [ 1821, 23, 2729, 32, 3641, 43, 44, 4649, 51, 54, 55], while 14 were in shod conditions [ 22, 2426, 30, 31, 33, 34, 42, 45, 50, 52, 53, 56] (Tables  4, 5 and 6). The majority of the studies ( n = 24) used a three-dimensional (3D) motion analysis system and force platforms [ 1928, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 40, 44, 48, 49, 5254], whereas the rest ( n = 14) used other measurement instruments including pressure plates [ 41], plantar pressure insoles [ 56], the Biodex system [ 42], static footprint [ 38], foot scanners [ 50], digital callipers [ 29], a dynamometer force system [ 45], a biothesiometer [ 51], and objective visual and manual measurements including foot posture index (FPI) [ 18, 47, 53, 55], goniometer [ 46], and lateral talometatarsal angle [ 32].
Table 4
Common foot variables in participants with KOA (data reported as mean ± standard deviation)
Foot variables
Study, year
Instrument- Shod condition
Results
P-value
KOA
Controls
Foot Progression Angle or toe-out degree ( 0)
Bechard et al., 2012
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
6.2 ± 6.1
9.4 ± 5.0
0.68
Booij et al., 2020
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
−40.12 ± 4.80
No controls
NA
Chang et al., 2007
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
18.1 ± 8.4
No controls
NA
Guo et al., 2007
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
2.0 ± 6.8
No controls
NA
Hinman et al., 2012
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
−6.06 ± 5.56
No controls
NA
Khan et al., 2019
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
9.6 ± 3.7
No controls
NA
Krackow et al., 2011
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
8.58 ± 2.37
15.36 ± 2.12
NR
Paquette et al., 2015
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
13 ± 4
12.2 ± 3.5
0.82
Rutherford et al., 2008
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
7.5 ± 5
7.3 ± 5
NA
Rutherford et al., 2010
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
6.6 ± 7.3
4.9 ± 4.7
0.625
Simic et al., 2013
3D motion analysis system- Wearing lab shoes
−4.5 ± 1.5
No controls
NA
Trombini-Souza et al., 2011
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
12.2 ± 6.74
13.1 ± 7.90
0.71
Peak rearfoot eversion ( 0)
Arnold et al., 2014
3D motion analysis system, force platform – Barefoot
5.3 ± 4.2
4.5 ± 5.0
0.850
Butler et al., 2009
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
3.5 ± 4.3
No controls
NA
Butler et al., 2011
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
6.2 ± 5.0
3.5 ± 2.7
0.01*
Chapman et al., 2015
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
3.51 ± 2.77
No controls
NA
Erhart-Hledik et al., 2017
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
13.9 ± 5.4
No controls
NA
Levinger et al., 2012
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
1.3 ± 5.2
2.3 ± 3.9
NR
Nigg et al., 2006
Biodex system- Wearing lab shoes
41.9
No controls
NA
Peak rearfoot inversion ( 0)
Arnold et al., 2014
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
1.4 ± 4.4
1.1 ± 4.2
0.708
Levinger et al., 2012
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
11.6 ± 5.2
14.9 ± 5.0
NR
Nigg et al., 2006
Biodex system- Wearing lab shoes
45.1
No controls
NA
Pes planus prevalence (%)
Abourazzak et al., 2014
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
42
22
0.03*
Guler et al., 2009
Objective manual testing- Barefoot
38.3
No controls
NA
Foot pronation (difference in FPI)
Abourazzak et al., 2014
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
1.5 ± 2.68
0.72 ± 2.63
0.05*
Levinger et al., 2010
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
2.46 ± 2.18
1.35 ± 1.43
0.022*
*Statistically significant p-value at 95% confidence interval
Abbreviations: 3D three dimensional, FPI foot posture index, KOA knee osteoarthritis, NA not applicable, NR not reported
Table 5
Static foot variables in participants with KOA (data reported as mean ± standard deviation)
Study, year of publish
Foot variable (outcome)
Instrument- Shod condition
Results
P-value
KOA
Controls
Abourazzak et al., 2014 [ 18]
Prevalence of pes cavus (%)
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
58
77
0.004*
Elbaz et al., 2017 [ 29]
Achilles tendon thickness (mm)
Digital caliper- Barefoot
17.1 ± 3.4
15.1 ± 3.1
0.009
Guler et al., 2009 [ 32]
Hallux valgus deformity (%)
Objective manual testing, radiography (x-ray)- Barefoot
22.60
No controls
NA
Hinman et al., 2016 [ 35]
FPI (n, %)
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
     
Severely supinated
1 (1)
No controls
NA
Supinated
0 (0)
   
Normal
44 (54)
   
Pronated
30 (37)
   
Severely pronated
6 (7)
   
Levinger et al., 2010 [ 38]
Vertical navicular height
Objective manual testing, static footprint- Barefoot
0.23 ± 0.03
0.24 ± 0.03
0.542
Navicular drop
0.02 ± 0.01
0.03 ± 0.01
0.019*
Arch index
0.26 ± 0.04
0.22 ± 0.04
0.04*
Ohi et al., 2017 [ 43]
Hallux valgus angle (°)
3D footprint automatic (laser) measurement- Barefoot
13.6 ± 7.22
No controls
NA
Presence of hallux valgus (%)
 
12.5
   
Navicular height (mm)
 
30.1 ± 6.75
   
Calcaneus angle relative to floor (°)
 
1.35 ± 5.09
   
Rear foot angle (°)
 
6.01 ± 3.76
   
Reilly et al., 2006 [ 46]
Navicular height in sitting (cm)
Objective manual testing (goniometer)- Barefoot
5.22 ± 0.94
5.28 ± 0.89
0.005*
Navicular height in standing (cm)
 
4.69 ± 0.83
4.73 ± 0.98
0.003*
Reilly et al., 2009 [ 47]
FPI**
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
7.0 (−2 to 10)**
1.0 (−4 to 8)**
< 0.001*
Ankle dorsiflexion during sitting (°)**
Objective manual testing using goniometer -Barefoot
9.0 (0 to 32)**
7.5 (0 to 15)**
< 0.001*
Shakoor et al., 2008 [ 51]
VPT (volts)
Biothesiometer, AP radiography- Barefoot
     
First MTPJ
15 ± 9.9
6.4 ± 3.3
< 0.001*
Medial malleolus
22 ± 11.7
12.3 ± 5.2
0.001*
Lateral malleolus
22.3 ± 10.5
10.4 ± 3.2
< 0.001*
Tan et al., 2020 [ 53]
FPI
Visual observation (FPI)-
Midfoot and arch height mobility/arch indices- Barefoot
3 (1 to 7)
No controls
NA
Arch height difference (mm)
8.8 ± 5.2
   
Midfoot width difference (mm)
8.9 ± 3.1
   
Foot mobility magnitude (mm)
14.8 ± 7.9
   
Van Tunen et al., 2018 [ 55]
FPI (n, %)
Visual observation (FPI)- Barefoot
Foot mobility magnitude calculation
Navicular drop test
     
Normal (scores 0 to + 5)
9 (43)
No controls
NA
Pronated (scores + 6 to + 9)
11 (52)
   
Highly pronated (scores greater + 9)
1 (5)
   
Foot mobility magnitude (mm)
9.6 ± 3.8
   
Navicular drop (mm)
7.6 ± 3.1
   
*Statistically significant p-value at 95% confidence interval
** Data reported as median (interquartile range)
Abbreviations: 3D three-dimensional, FPI foot posture index, KOA knee osteoarthritis, MTPJ metatarsophalangeal joint, NA not applicable, NR not reported, SAI Staheli arch index, VPT Vibratory perception threshold
Table 6
Dynamic foot variables in participants with KOA (data reported as mean ± standard deviation)
Study, year of publish
Foot variable (outcome)
Instrument- Shod condition
Results
P-value
KOA
Controls
Al-Zahrani and Bakheit 2002 [ 19]
Ankle plantar flexion in stance (°)**
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
19.01 (15.90 to 22.70)**
30.88 (23.50 to 35.60)**
< 0.12
Ankle plantar flexion in swing (°)**
27.76 (17.70 to 26.40)**
22.74 (15.90 to 22.70)**
< 0.02*
Ankle moment (pre-swing) (Nm/kg)**
0.57 (0.36 to 0.78)**
0.79 (0.61 to 0.91)**
< 0.002*
Ankle power (pre-swing) (Watt/k.)**
1.46 (0.53 to 2.31)**
3.86 (2.91 to 4.58)**
< 0.000*
Anan et al., 2015 [ 20]
Maximum ankle plantar flexion moment during STS (Nm/kg)
3D motion analysis system, force platform-
Barefoot
0.36 ± 0.07
0.34 ± 0.07
0.343
Mean ankle plantar flexion moment during STS (Nm/kg)
0.23 ± 0.06
0.24 ± 0.08
0.685
Ankle planter flexion moment impulse during STS (Nms/kg)
0.47 ± 0.16
0.38 ± 0.15
0.072
Arnold et al., 2014 [ 21]
Hindfoot conronal plane ROM ( o)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
10.9 ± 3.4
10.9 ± 4.3
0.562
Butler et al., 2009 [ 24]
Rearfoot eversion excursion ( o)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
10.1 ± 2.8
No controls
NA
−0.030 ± 0.034
   
Peak rearfoot eversion moment (Nm/kg*m)
Butler et al., 2011 [ 25]
Peak rearfoot inversion moment (Nm/kg*m)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
−0.050 ±
− 0.062 ±
0.38
Rearfoot eversion excursion ( o)
0.045
0.03
0.96
10.6 ± 5.6
10.2 ± 3.7
 
Charlton et al. 2018 [ 28]
Foot rotation angle during natural walking:
3D motion analysis system- Barefoot
     
Ipsilateral foot (°)
−7.8 ± 7.9
No controls
NA
Contralateral foot (°)
−8.4 ± 5.7
   
Gardner et al., 2007 [ 31]
Planter flexion angle during cycling ( o)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
−6.0 ± 8.5
− 8.9 ± 10.7
0.834
Ankle eversion during cycling ( o)
−6.8 ± 8.5
−13.2 ± 8.4
0.015*
Internal rotation angle ( o)
8.1 ± 7.1
9.2 ± 7.6
0.849
Guo et al., 2007 [ 33]
FPA during stair ascent ( o)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
2.5 ± 6.6
No controls
NA
FPA during stair descent ( o)
11.3 ± 8.9
   
Hinman et al., 2012 [ 34]
COP offset (mm)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Wearing lab shoes
−5.6 ± 4.3
No controls
NA
Levinger et al.,2012a [ 39]
Ankle dorsiflexion ( o)
3D motion analysis system, force platform-Barefoot
3.6 ± 3.3
2.4 ± 2.8
0.08
Ankle adduction ( 0)
2.8 ± 1.9
4.2 ± 2.1
0.01*
Toe clearance sensitivity in ankle (mm/degrees)
−0.1 ± 3.5
1.1 ± 4.5
0.05*
Levinger et al., 2012b [ 40]
Rearfoot frontal plane ROM ( o)
3D motion analysis system, force platform- Barefoot
10.2 ± 3.3
12.5 ± 3.1
NR
Rearfoot transverse plane ROM ( o)
8.8 ± 4.7
10.0 ± 4.9
NR
Internal rotation ( o)
11.7 ± 6.3
15.4 ± 7.9
NR
External rotation ( o)
2.9 ± 5.8
5.4 ± 6.1
NR
Lidtke et al., 2010 [ 41]
COP index
Plantar pressure plate- Barefoot
−5.87 ± 5.6
−0.45 ± 3.45
< 0.001*
Nigg et al., 2006 [ 42]
Ankle plantar flexion ( o)
Biodex system- Wearing lab shoes
50.6
No controls
NA
Ankle dorsiflexion ( o)
22.2
   
Park et al., 2016 [ 45]
MVIC of ankle inversion muscle group (N/kg)
Force dynamometer- Wearing lab shoes
0.62 ± 0.26
0.86 ± 0.31
0.007*
Reilly et al., 2006 [ 46]
Ankle Plantar flexion in sitting (°)
Objective manual testing (goniometer)- Barefoot
50.72 ± 11.49
52.13 ± 10.94
0.788
Ankle dorsiflexion in sitting (°)
10.07 ± 4.29
8.4 ± 3.71
0.000*
Calcaneal angle in sitting (°)
2.02 ± 2.04
−0.25 ± 2.93
0.000*
Saito et al., 2013 [ 50]
Partial foot pressure per body weight (%)
Plantar pressure sensor insoles during walking- Wearing lab shoes
     
Heel
27.1 ± 11.2
41.7 ± 8.5
< 0.001*
Central
33.1 ± 11.2
16.5 ± 13.8
< 0.001*
Metatarsal
12.4 ± 7.9
12.1 ± 6.7
> 0.001
Hallux
1.5 ± 2.2
3.5 ± 3.0
< 0.001*
Lateral toes
1.2 ± 1.7
2.5 ± 2.1
> 0.001
Tan et al., 2020 [ 53]
Peak dorsiflexion angle in stance (°) during walking
3D motion analysis system, force platform-Wearing lab shoes
14.9 ± 3.2
No controls
NA
Peak dorsiflexion moment (Nm/kg) during walking
 
0.15 ± 0.27
   
Peak dorsiflexion angle in stance (°) stair ascent / descent.
 
9.7 ± 4.4
   
Peak dorsiflexion moment (Nm/kg) stair ascent / descent.
 
1.08 ± 0.22
   
Weight bearing ankle joint dorsiflexion ROM (cm)
Knee to wall test
9.1 ± 3.2
   
Zhang et al., 2017 [ 56]
Contact area (cm 2)
Plantar pressure sensor insoles during walking- Wearing lab shoes
     
Heel
28.9 ± 2.9
28.6 ± 1.7
0.982
Midfoot
41.5 ± 5.8
36.5 ± 7.3
0.043*
1st MTPJ
13.8 ± 1.6
13.1 ± 1.3
0.875
2nd MTPJ
13.6 ± 0.8
13.2 ± 1.3
0.922
3rd-5th MTPJ
12.7 ± 0.6
12.8 ± 0.3
0.986
Hallux
7.1 ± 1.7
6.6 ± 1.6
0.684
Lesser toes
10.3 ± 1.1
10.8 ± 0.4
0.988
Maximum force (%BW)
       
Heel
69.5 ± 15.2
67.1 ± 11.3
0.817
Midfoot
30.3 ± 7.1
23.6 ± 7.4
0.43
1st MTPJ
32.3 ± 7.1
26.5 ± 6.2
0.037*
2nd MTPJ
35.2 ± 9.1
30.3 ± 5.1
0.041*
3rd-5th MTPJ
17.7 ± 5.4
16.7 ± 4.9
0.843
Hallux
14.3 ± 6.5
13.5 ± 5.6
0.901
Lesser toes
12.0 ± 4.7
12.6 ± 3.2
0.973
Plantar pressure (kPa)
       
Heel
252.9 ± 52.5
243.7 ± 52.5
0.581
Midfoot
132.8 ± 28.3
116.5 ± 30.0
0.031*
1st MTPJ
295.1 ± 100.4
224.3 ± 62.4
0.024*
2nd MTPJ
273.8 ± 103.9
244.6 ± 56.1
0.183
3rd-5th MTPJ
156.1 ± 43.1
157.9 ± 49.3
0.981
Hallux
231.9 ± 77.6
219.6 ± 79.4
0.531
Lesser toes
139.4 ± 49.4
142.9 ± 44.9
0.801
*Statistically significant p-value at 95% confidence interval
** Data reported as median (interquartile range)
Abbreviations: 3D three-dimensional, %BW percent bodyweight, AP anteroposterior, COP centre of pressure, KOA knee osteoarthritis, NA not applicable, NR not reported, MVIC maximum voluntary isometric contraction, MTPJ metatarsophalangeal joint, ROM range of motion, STS sit-to-stand
A wide range of foot characteristics and mechanics were reported in the included studies. The most common foot-related outcomes investigated and reported were foot progression angle (FPA) or toe-out degree ( n = 12) [ 22, 23, 27, 33, 34, 36, 37, 44, 48, 49, 52, 54], and peak rearfoot eversion angle ( n = 7) [ 21, 2426, 30, 40, 42]. Other outcome measures included the prevalence of pes planus among participants with KOA measured with reference to the medial arch index and the lateral talometatarsal angle [ 18, 32], and foot pronation measured by foot posture index (FPI) [ 18, 38]. One study measured partial foot pressure percentage by body weight [ 50], and another measured plantar load during walking [ 56].

Foot progression angle (toe-out degree)

Twelve studies measured and reported FPA [ 22, 23, 27, 33, 34, 36, 37, 44, 48, 49, 52, 54]. Six studies recruited both KOA and control groups and compared the findings between them [ 22, 37, 44, 48, 49, 54]. The FPA meta-analysis showed no difference between participants with and without KOA (MD: -1.50, 95% CI − 4.20 to 1.21) (Fig.  2). Six other studies recruited KOA participants without a control group [ 23, 27, 33, 34, 36, 52], and three of these reported negative values for FPA [ 23, 34, 52], meaning that KOA participants walked with in-toeing gait, while the other three studies reported positive values of FPA [ 27, 33, 36] [ 27, 33, 36], meaning that KOA participants tended to walked with a toe-out gait.

Peak rearfoot eversion angle

Seven studies measured peak rearfoot eversion angle in individuals with KOA [ 21, 2426, 30, 40, 42] using 3D motion analysis systems (in weight bearing position during walking) [ 21, 2426, 30, 40], and Biodex (non-weight bearing, in sitting position) [ 42]. Four studies recruited a KOA group only [ 24, 26, 30, 42], while three studies compared data to those without KOA [ 21, 25, 40] (Table  4). A meta-analysis of these studies showed no significant difference in peak rearfoot eversion angle during walking between groups (MD: 0.71, 95%CI − 1.55 to 2.97) (Fig.  3).

Foot posture

FPI was reported in six studies [ 18, 35, 38, 47, 53, 55]. However, the study outcomes were not presented comparably between these studies, limiting the possibilities of meta-analysis. Two studies measured differences in foot posture using FPI in KOA and non-KOA populations [ 18, 38]. Both of them noted that participants with KOA had statistically significant ( P < 0.05) highly pronated foot postures, with a difference of 0.78 [ 18] and 0.61 [ 38] between the groups (Table 4). Four additional studies measured FPI in individuals with KOA [ 35, 47, 53, 55], with the results reported here in Table  5 as they were measured differently, with two reporting results as median and interquartile ranges [ 47, 53] and two categorising and reporting the prevalence of individuals into categories. The first study categorised individuals into three categories: normal, pronated, or highly (severely) pronated [ 55], while the other study added two categories: supinated, and severely supinated [ 35]. The highest prevalence in both studies was in the pronated foot posture category, with 52% of participants ( N = 11) in one study [ 55] and 37% ( N = 30) in the other [ 35] (Table 5).

Pes planus

Two studies reported on the prevalence of pes planus in individuals with KOA. Pes planus was measured with reference to the medial arch index in one study, and it showed a statistically significant greater prevalence of pes planus in participants with KOA (42% vs. 22%) [ 18]. Another study measured pes planus by the lateral talometatarsal angle, where it was defined as an angle > 4°, and reported that 38.3% of participants with KOA had pes planus [ 32].

Other outcomes

Other foot characteristics and mechanics measured in individuals with KOA were divided into two categories and reported in two different tables: static foot variables (Table 5) and dynamic foot variables (Table  6). The medial arch of the foot was assessed and reported in four studies using different methods (vertical navicular height, navicular drop, and arch index), with different tools (arch index, static footprint, goniometer, and navicular drop test). Of those four studies, two studies compared the results of the KOA group to a control group [ 38, 46]. When participants with KOA were compared to those without, they were found to have a more significant navicular drop (0.03 ± 0.01 vs 0.02 ± 0.01), a significantly greater arch index (0.26 ± 0.04 vs 0.22 ± 0.04) [ 38], and significantly lower navicular height in sitting (5.22 ± 0.94 cm vs 5.28 ± 0.89 cm) [ 46] and standing (4.69 ± 0.83 cm vs. 4.73 ± 0.98 cm) [ 46].
Plantar pressure was measured during walking while wearing plantar pressure sensor insoles embedded inside lab shoes in two studies [ 50, 56]. One study [ 50] assessed and reported the percentage of partial foot pressure per body part, and reported that plantar pressure was statistically lower in participants with KOA compared to those without KOA in the heel (27.1 ± 11.2% vs. 41.7 ± 8.5%), and hallux (1.5 ± 2.2% vs. 3.5 ± 3.0%), and statistically greater at the midfoot (central) (33.1 ± 11.2% vs. 16.5 ± 13.8%) [ 50]. In the other study [ 56], a significantly greater plantar pressure was reported in the midfoot (132.8 ± 28.3 kPa vs. 116.5 ± 30.0 kPa), and the first metatarsophalangeal joint (295.1 ± 100.4 kPa vs. 224.3 ± 62.4 kPa) when compared to a control population [ 56].
One study [ 51] investigated the vibratory perception threshold (VPT) in specific foot areas and reported significant deficits in vibratory sensation in participants with KOA. Compared to participants without KOA, those with KOA demonstrated significantly greater VPT in the first metatarsophalangeal joint (15 ± 9.9 V vs. 6.4 ± 3.3 V), medial malleolus (22 ± 11.7 V vs. 12.3 ± 5.2 V), and lateral malleolus (22.3 ± 10.5 V vs. 10.4 ± 3.2 V) [ 51]. Another study which explored Achilles tendon thickness reported significantly thicker tendons in the KOA group compared to the control [ 29] (17.1 mm vs. 15.1 mm), with thickness associated positively with KOA severity.

Discussion

The purpose of this review was to evaluate foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA and compare them to people without KOA where possible. Variations in foot characteristics and mechanics in people with KOA were found in the included studies. These variations included differences in FPA, peak rearfoot eversion angle, pronated foot posture, and incidence of pes planus in people with KOA. Several studies compared foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA to those without KOA; however measurement techniques and outcome measures were not homogenous across studies. Therefore, meta-analyses were conducted on two foot variables only, FPA and peak rearfoot eversion angle. However, these revealed no statistical difference in FPA or peak rearfoot eversion angle. The results across the included studies were inconsistent, a situation which can be attributed to three main reasons: 1) several studies had no control group without KOA, limiting the ability to report between group differences; 2) studies employed different measurement techniques or methods of reporting, limiting the ability to combine data in meta-analyses; and 3) foot characteristics or mechanics were reported by only one study (e.g., VPT, prevalence of hallux valgus deformity, Achilles tendon thickness), making it impossible to draw robust conclusions. Therefore, further work is needed to fully understand the differences in foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA.
Results of the present work suggest that the prevalence of pes planus and pronated foot posture is higher among participants with KOA. Zhang et al. (2017) reported significantly greater plantar pressure in the midfoot in those with KOA compared to those without. The increase of midfoot and central plantar pressure aligns with the increased incidence of pes planus [ 18, 32] and greater foot pronation [ 18, 38] associated with KOA. Further, the positive association noted between pes planus and lower vertical navicular height [ 38] may explain the high pressure in the midfoot area and the absence of a medial longitudinal arch in the foot [ 50]. The greater peak rearfoot eversion angles evident in individuals with KOA [ 21, 25, 31] also align with the reported FPA differences between those with and without KOA [ 22, 34, 37, 52, 54], as these measurements are hypothesised to influence each other biomechanically.
As the included studies measured foot characteristics and mechanics in those with KOA at a single time point, it is unclear if foot posture or incidence of pes planus is a cause or effect of KOA. Nonetheless, the presence of the biomechanical foot differences (pronated foot posture, greater peak rearfoot eversion angle, and incidence of pes planus) associated with KOA highlight the importance of the kinetic chain and biomechanical influence of one joint on another, which may indicate that foot characteristics may be related to KOA progression. However, further longitudinal studies are required to confirm this. As foot posture and foot function have previously been associated with knee joint loading [ 38, 57], a cause of primary progressive KOA [ 9], it is possible that changing the foot posture or function may be an appropriate intervention for KOA.
Conservative interventions targeting a biomechanical change to address KOA have included foot-related interventions [ 58, 59]. The most common foot-related interventions used to manage KOA are gait modifications and lateral wedge insoles [ 58]. Toe-out gait has been widely deployed as a conservative intervention in order to reduce knee adduction moment (KAM) and symptoms in people with KOA [ 59]. Walking with a greater toe-out angle as a mechanical intervention changes the knee joint load in individuals with KOA, shifting the KAM into a flexion moment and reducing knee pain [ 60]. Furthermore, a greater toe-out degree during walking has been associated with a reduced likelihood of disease progression in participants with KOA for over 18 months [ 27]. Therefore, this intervention can be limited to targeting people with KOA who walk with a toe-in gait pattern. However, the findings of this systematic review also revealed a diversity in walking patterns among people with KOA (toe-in vs. toe-out gait); thus, this intervention cannot be applied widely in people with KOA.
Lateral wedge orthoses are another common foot-related intervention for KOA [ 58]. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated a reduction in knee joint load, reported as a significant small reduction in first peak of external KAM (standardized mean difference [SMD]: − 0.19; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] -0.23, − 0.15) and second peak external KAM (SMD -0.25; 95% CI -0.32, − 0.19) with a low level of heterogeneity (I 2 = 5 and 30%, respectively) and small but favourable reduction in knee adduction angular impulse during walking in people with KOA (SMD = − 0.14; 95% CI -0.21, − 0.07, I 2 = 31%) [ 58]. However, the biomechanical changes reported as resulting from lateral wedge orthoses were considered minimal, thus limiting the efficacy of this intervention [ 58]. Furthermore, the impact of this intervention is still unknown for people with KOA who have pronated foot posture as lateral wedge orthoses were reported to significantly increase subtalar joint valgus moment [ 61]. Therefore, defining foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA is extremely important, as doing so can play an essential role in selecting the most appropriate foot-related interventions to fit the individual’s own foot characteristics and mechanics.
This systematic review has identified several gaps and areas where future research is needed. Intrinsic foot muscle strength, which affects gait and balance [ 62], remains an unknown characteristic in the KOA population. Future work evaluating the association between foot muscle strength and KOA may prove beneficial in determining if foot strength or its improvement may be an effective KOA intervention. Further, only one study [ 51] to date has investigated and reported a loss of vibratory sensation in the foot and ankle with KOA, a measure also affecting gait [ 63]. Understanding if there is a loss in vibratory sense loss or proprioception as well as how it affects those with KOA may also inform the type of rehabilitation deemed appropriate for this population. It has been suggested that poor neuromuscular control affects injury risk and prevention [ 64], and neuromuscular control has been associated with KOA severity [ 65]. Therefore, improving foot neuromuscular control may potentially lessen the risk of knee injury and decrease the impact of KOA.

Strengths and limitations

As with any study, the systematic review and meta-analyses presented here should be evaluated with respect to their strengths and limitations. This review set out a wide range of foot characteristics and mechanics in people with KOA. However, most of the measures were only reported in one or two studies with a small sample of participants, which may limit their generalisability to the wider KOA population. Further, this study has evaluated foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA and suggested a potential relationship between some of the foot measures and KOA. However, the potential cause and effect relationship of foot characteristics and mechanics outcome measures to KOA is still unknown, as this work has reported foot- related data collected at one time point from observational studies, or data at baseline from intervention studies. Future researchers are advised to investigate the relationship between KOA and foot characteristics and mechanics in more depth via longitudinal studies.
One strength of this study is its robust design, which allowed for the breadth of foot characteristics published to be included in the systematic review and meta-analysis, providing a strong background for researchers to develop longitudinal and intervention studies. However, the wide variety of techniques used to measure similar outcomes prevented the possibility of conducting multiple meta-analyses. Therefore, future studies are advised to develop and follow standardized techniques with which to measure foot characteristics and mechanics in order to facilitate further meta-analyses.
The foot characteristics and mechanics reported in this systematic review were assessed and measured using a range of specific measurements. These could be divided into two categories: 1) laboratory-based measurement (e.g., 3D motion capture, static footprint, force platform, and Biodex); and 2) visual observation and objective manual measurements (e.g., navicular drop test, knee to wall test, FPI, Staheli arch index, and digital caliper). Many of the included studies omitted to provide sufficient details on how the measurements were taken. Moreover, due to the heterogeneity in measurement methods used to investigate foot characteristics and mechanics between the included studies, the process of pooling results for comparison was limited.
One of the limitations identified during this review was the lack of quality in the included studies, as only ten studies attained 65% on the STROBE checklist and could thus be considered high-quality studies. A lower cut-off point of 65% was utilized during the assessment of study quality because foot characteristics and mechanics were not generally the primary outcome measure in the included studies; thus, a cut-off point higher than 65% would not have been achievable by the included studies.

Conclusion

In conclusion, despite the large body of prior research investigating foot characteristics and mechanics in individuals with KOA, many studies lacked a comparison group without KOA. Five foot characteristics and mechanics measures were commonly reported in the included studies (FPA, rearfoot peak eversion angle, peak rearfoot inversion angle, foot posture, and prevalence of pes planus). A more pronated foot posture was noticed in the presence of KOA. Further, of these five common foot characteristics and mechanics, two were of similar design, enabling a meta-analysis to be conducted - FPA and peak rearfoot eversion angle. Meta-analysis of these two variables demonstrated no significant differences between participants with and without KOA. Thus, the implications of the present work suggest a need to adopt and adhere to unified measurement techniques of common foot characteristics and mechanics to make meta-analyses more viable. Lastly, longitudinal studies are needed to identify the potential causal relationship between foot characteristics and mechanics and KOA in people with KOA.

Acknowledgements

The first author (RA) would like to express her great appreciation to all co-authors for their valuable contributions to this work.

Declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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