Objective: To compare electromyographic activity of the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and gluteus medius during functional activities in subjects with different foot types while wearing various off-the-shelf foot orthotics.
Design: Experimental, controlled; 3 foot-type groups (pes planus, pes cavus, pes rectus) each tested in 4 orthotic conditions while performing 3 different exercises.
Participants: Thirty healthy young adults, 10 with each foot type.
Interventions: Four conditions: no orthotic, 7 degrees medial rearfoot post, 4 degrees lateral rearfoot post, and neutral rearfoot post.
Main outcome measure: Surface electromyographic activity for the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and gluteus medius during single-leg squatting, lateral stepdown, and maximum vertical jump exercises.
Results: Greater vastus medialis and gluteus medius activity was found with all 3 orthotic conditions, regardless of subject foot type, during the single-leg squat and lateral stepdown. Less vastus lateralis activity was found with the vertical jump with all orthotic conditions, again regardless of foot type.
Conclusions: During slow controlled exercises such as the single-leg squat and lateral stepdown, vastus medialis and gluteus medius activity may be enhanced with an off-the-shelf orthotic, regardless of posting or foot type. These same findings do not appear to carry over to a more explosive task such as the maximal vertical jump.