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In 3D gait analysis, kinematics of the foot joints are usually reported via isolated time histories of joint rotations and no information is provided on the relationship between rotations at different joints. The aim of this study was to identify movement coordination patterns in the foot during walking by expanding an existing vector coding technique according to an established multi-segment foot and ankle model. A graphical representation is also described to summarise the coordination patterns of joint rotations across multiple patients.
Three-dimensional multi-segment foot kinematics were recorded in 13 adults during walking. A modified vector coding technique was used to identify coordination patterns between foot joints involving calcaneus, midfoot, metatarsus and hallux segments. According to the type and direction of joints rotations, these were classified as in-phase (same direction), anti-phase (opposite directions), proximal or distal joint dominant.
In early stance, 51 to 75% of walking trials showed proximal-phase coordination between foot joints comprising the calcaneus, midfoot and metatarsus. In-phase coordination was more prominent in late stance, reflecting synergy in the simultaneous inversion occurring at multiple foot joints. Conversely, a distal-phase coordination pattern was identified for sagittal plane motion of the ankle relative to the midtarsal joint, highlighting the critical role of arch shortening to locomotor function in push-off.
This study has identified coordination patterns between movement of the calcaneus, midfoot, metatarsus and hallux by expanding an existing vector cording technique for assessing and classifying coordination patterns of foot joints rotations during walking. This approach provides a different perspective in the analysis of multi-segment foot kinematics, and may be used for the objective quantification of the alterations in foot joint coordination patterns due to lower limb pathologies or following injuries.
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- Movement coordination patterns between the foot joints during walking
John B. Arnold
- BioMed Central