Plantar pressure analysis is widely used in the assessment of foot function. In order to assess regional loading, a mask is applied to the footprint to sub-divide it into regions of interest (ROIs). The most common masking method is based on geometric features of the footprint (GM). Footprint masking based on anatomical landmarks of the foot has been implemented more recently, and involves the integration of a 3D motion capture system, plantar pressure measurement device, and a multi-segment foot model. However, thorough validation of anatomical masking (AM) using pathological footprints has not yet been presented. In the present study, an AM method based on the Oxford Foot Model (OFM) was compared to an equivalent GM. Pressure footprints from 20 young healthy subjects (HG) and 20 patients with clubfoot (CF) were anatomically divided into 5 ROIs using a subset of the OFM markers. The same foot regions were also identified by using a standard GM method. Comparisons of intra-subject coefficient of variation (CV) showed that the OFM-based AM was at least as reliable as the GM for all investigated pressure parameters in all foot regions. Clinical relevance of AM was investigated by comparing footprints from HG and CF groups. Contact time, maximum force, force-time integral and contact area proved to be sensitive parameters that were able to distinguish HG and CF groups, using both AM and GM methods However, the AM method revealed statistically significant differences between groups in 75% of measured variables, compared to 62% using a standard GM method, indicating that the AM method is more sensitive for revealing differences between groups.
- Anatomical masking
- Pressure footprints
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine