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01-12-2014 | Research | Uitgave 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2014

Movement of the human foot in 100 pain free individuals aged 18–45: implications for understanding normal foot function

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2014
Christopher J Nester, Hannah L Jarvis, Richard K Jones, Peter D Bowden, Anmin Liu
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13047-014-0051-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

CN conceived the manuscript, supervised data collection, led data interpretation, and was the primary writer of the manuscript. HJ undertook data collection and processing, supported the manuscript conception and data interpretation, and contributed to the manuscript. RJ supervised data collection and processing, supported the study conception, and contributed to the manuscript. PB supervised data collection, supported the study conception, and contributed to the manuscript. AL supervised data collection and processing, supported the study conception, and contributed to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Understanding motion in the normal healthy foot is a prerequisite for understanding the effects of pathology and thereafter setting targets for interventions. Quality foot kinematic data from healthy feet will also assist the development of high quality and research based clinical models of foot biomechanics. To address gaps in the current literature we aimed to describe 3D foot kinematics using a 5 segment foot model in a population of 100 pain free individuals.


Kinematics of the leg, calcaneus, midfoot, medial and lateral forefoot and hallux were measured in 100 self reported healthy and pain free individuals during walking. Descriptive statistics were used to characterise foot movements. Contributions from different foot segments to the total motion in each plane were also derived to explore functional roles of different parts of the foot.


Foot segments demonstrated greatest motion in the sagittal plane, but large ranges of movement in all planes. All foot segments demonstrated movement throughout gait, though least motion was observed between the midfoot and calcaneus. There was inconsistent evidence of movement coupling between joints. There were clear differences in motion data compared to foot segment models reported in the literature.


The data reveal the foot is a multiarticular structure, movements are complex, show incomplete evidence of coupling, and vary person to person. The data provide a useful reference data set against which future experimental data can be compared and may provide the basis for conceptual models of foot function based on data rather than anecdotal observations.

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