Multi-segment foot models and their use in clinical populations

Alberto Leardini, Paolo Caravaggi, Tim Theologis, Julie Stebbins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Many multi-segment foot models based on skin-markers have been proposed for in-vivo kinematic analysis of foot joints. It remains unclear whether these models have developed far enough to be useful in clinical populations. The present paper aims at reviewing these models, by discussing major methodological issues, and analyzing relevant clinical applications. Research question: Can multi-segment foot models be used in clinical populations? Methods: Pubmed and Google Scholar were used as the main search engines to perform an extensive literature search of papers reporting definition, validation or application studies of multi-segment foot models. The search keywords were the following: ‘multisegment’; ‘foot’; ‘model’; ‘kinematics’ ‘joints’ and ‘gait’. Results: More than 100 papers published between 1991 and 2018 were identified and included in the review. These studies either described a technique or reported a clinical application of one of nearly 40 models which differed according to the number of segments, bony landmarks, marker set, definition of anatomical frames, and convention for calculation of joint rotations. Only a few of these models have undergone robust validation studies. Clinical application papers divided by type of assessment revealed that the large majority of studies were a cross-sectional comparison of a pathological group to a control population. Significance: This review suggests that there is sufficient evidence that multi-segment foot models may be successfully applied in clinical populations. Analysis of the currently available models allows users to better identify the most suitable protocol for specific clinical applications. However new models require thorough validation and assessment before being used to support clinical decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalGait and Posture
Early online dateJan 15 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Clinical gait analysis
  • Foot joints
  • Foot pathologies
  • Kinematics
  • Multisegment foot models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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