Biomechanics of postoperative shoes: plantar pressure distribution, wearing characteristics and design criteria: a preliminary study

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2011 Feb;131(2):197-203. doi: 10.1007/s00402-010-1127-y. Epub 2010 Jun 12.


Background: Modern concepts in the postoperative treatment of first metatarsal osteotomies include special shoes that should decrease stress in the forefoot region. The purpose of this study was to determine plantar pressure distribution, wearing characteristics and stress-reducing effectiveness of five different types of commonly used postoperative shoes. Additionally, we wanted to modify the shoe that revealed the most favourable results in a way that improves forefoot relief as well as provides comfort to the patients.

Methods: Eight persons consented to participate in the study. Plantar pressure distribution in five different types of postoperative shoes (Rathgeber(®) normal, Rathgeber(®) modified, 4. Darco(®) flat, Darco(®) VFE, Wocker(®)) was assessed using Mediologic(®) insoles. Also, subjective criteria considering wearing comfort, stability and rolling characteristics were evaluated. Based on the postoperative shoe revealing the most favourable results, further prototypes were developed. Each new model was targeted to meet the given requirements, minimal forefoot pressure, in a different way.

Results: The Rathgeber(®) modified model revealed the most favourable results concerning plantar pressure distribution as well as subjective wearing characteristics. Therefore, it was chosen for further modifications. After adding an extra layer of high elastic and springy material for shock absorption at the hallux region, forefoot relief and wearing characteristics showed improved results.

Conclusion: The results of the present study indicate that damping material in the hallux region of postoperative shoes minimises stress in this region and improves patient's comfort.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Hallux Valgus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Pressure
  • Shoes*
  • Young Adult