Fatigue of the plantar intrinsic foot muscles increases navicular drop

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):420-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.11.004. Epub 2007 Jan 8.


Our purpose was to assess the effect of foot intrinsic muscle fatigue on pronation, as assessed with navicular drop, during static stance. Twenty-one healthy young adults participated. Navicular drop was measured before and after fatiguing exercise of the plantar foot intrinsic muscles. Surface electromyography of the abductor hallucis muscle was recorded during maximum voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) in order to find the baseline median frequency (MedF). Subjects then performed sets of 75 repetitions of isotonic flexion contractions of the intrinsic foot muscles against a 4.55 kg weight on a custom pulley system. After each set an MVIC was performed to track shifts in MedF. After a MedF shift of at least 10%, navicular drop measurements were repeated. Subjects exhibited 10.0+/-3.8mm of navicular drop at baseline and 11.8+/-3.8mm after fatigue (p<0.0005). The change in navicular drop was significantly correlated with change in MedF (r=.47, p=.03). The intrinsic foot muscles play a role in support of the medial longitudinal arch in static stance. Disrupting the function of these muscles through fatigue resulted in an increase in pronation as assessed by navicular drop.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pronation / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Tarsal Bones / physiology*