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01-12-2017 | Research | Uitgave 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2017

Inter-segmental motions of the foot: differences between younger and older healthy adult females

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2017
Dong Yeon Lee, Sang Gyo Seo, Eo Jin Kim, Doo Jae Lee, Kee Jeong Bae, Kyoung Min Lee, In Ho Choi
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13047-017-0211-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Although accumulative evidence exists that support the applicability of multi-segmental foot models (MFMs) in evaluating foot motion in various pathologic conditions, little is known of the effect of aging on inter-segmental foot motion. The objective of this study was to evaluate differences in inter-segmental motion of the foot between older and younger adult healthy females during gait using a MFM with 15-marker set.


One hundred symptom-free females, who had no radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis, were evaluated using MFM with 15-marker set. They were divided into young (n = 50, 20–35 years old) and old (n = 50, 60–69 years old) groups. Coefficients of multiple correlations were evaluated to assess the similarity of kinematic curve. Inter-segmental angles (hindfoot, forefoot, and hallux) were calculated at each gait phase. To evaluate the effect of gait speed on intersegmental foot motion, subgroup analysis was performed according to the similar speed of walking.


Kinematic curves showed good or excellent similarity in most parameters. Range of motion in the sagittal (p < 0.001) and transverse (p = 0.001) plane of the hallux, and sagittal (p = 0.023) plane of the forefoot was lower in older females. The dorsiflexion (p = 0.001) of the hallux at terminal stance and pre-swing phases was significantly lower in older females. When we compared young and older females with similar speed, these differences remained.


Although the overall kinematic pattern was similar between young and older females, reduced range of inter-segmental motion was observed in the older group. Our results suggest that age-related changes need to be considered in studies evaluating inter-segmental motion of the foot.

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