The medial-longitudinal arch (MLA) is perhaps the most important feature characterizing foot morphology. While current skin-markers based models of the MLA angle used in stereophotogrammetry allow to estimate foot arch shape and deformation, these do not always appear consistent with foot anatomy and with standard clinical definitions. The aim of this study was to propose novel skin-markers based measures of MLA angle and investigate their reliability during common motor tasks. Markers on the calcaneus, navicular tuberosity, first metatarsal head and base, and on the two malleoli were exploited to test eight definitions of MLA angle consistent with foot anatomy, both as angles between two 3-dimensional vectors and as corresponding projections on the sagittal plane of the foot. The inter-trial, inter-session and inter-examiner reliability of each definition was assessed in multiple walking and running trials of two volunteers, tested by four examiners in three sessions. Inter-trial variability in walking was in the range 0.7-1.2 deg, the inter-session 2.8-7.5 deg, and the inter-examiner in the range 3.7-9.3 deg across all MLA definitions. The Rizzoli Foot Model definition showed the lowest inter-session and inter-examiner variability. MLA measures presented similar variability in walking and running. This study provides preliminary information on the reliability of MLA measurements based on skin-markers. According to the present study, angles between 3-dimensional vectors and minimal marker sets should be preferred over sagittal-plane projections. Further studies should be sought to investigate which definition is more accurate with respect to the real MLA deformation in different loading conditions.
- Foot kinematics
- Medial longitudinal arch