Introduction: The limitations of clinical methods for appraising foot posture are well documented. A new measure, the Foot Posture Index is proposed, and its development and validation described.
Methods: A four-phase development process was used: (i) to derive a series of candidate measures, (ii) to define an appropriate scoring system, (iii) to evaluate the validity of components and modify the instrument as appropriate, and (iv) to investigate the predictive validity of the finalised instrument relative to static and dynamic kinematic models. Methods included initial concurrent validation using Rose's Valgus Index, determination of inter-item reliability, factor analysis, and benchmarking against three dimensional kinematic models derived from electromagnetic motion tracking of the lower limb.
Results: Thirty-six candidate components were reduced to six in the final instrument. The draft version of the instrument predicted 59% of the variance in concurrent Valgus Index scores and demonstrated good inter item reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.83). The relevant variables from the motion tracking lower limb model predicted 58-80% of the variance in the six components retained in the final instrument. The finalised instrument predicted 64% of the variance in static standing posture, and 41% of the variance in midstance posture during normal walking.
Conclusion: The Foot Posture Index has been subjected to thorough evaluation in the course of its development and a final version is proposed comprising six component measures that performed satisfactorily during the validation process. The Foot Posture Index assessment is quick and simple to perform and allows a multiple segment, multiple plane evaluation that offers some advantages over existing clinical measures of foot posture.