Relationships between foot type and dynamic rearfoot frontal plane motion

J Foot Ankle Res. 2010 Jun 16;3:9. doi: 10.1186/1757-1146-3-9.


Background: The Foot Posture Index (FPI) provides an easily applicable, validated method for quantifying static foot posture. However there is limited evidence relating to the ability of the FPI to predict dynamic foot function. This study aimed to assess the relationship between dynamic rearfoot motion and FPI scores in pronated and normal foot types.

Methods: 40 participants were recruited with equal numbers of pronated and normal foot types as classified by their FPI score. Three dimensional rearfoot motion was collected for each of the participants. Dynamic maximum rearfoot eversion was correlated with the total FPI score across all participants and within the normal and pronated foot types. Linear correlations were performed between components of the total FPI scores measuring frontal plane rearfoot position and maximum rearfoot eversion. The capacity of the total FPI score to predict maximum frontal plane motion of the rearfoot was investigated using linear regression analysis.

Results: The correlation between the total FPI score and maximum rearfoot eversion was strongly positive (r = 0.92, p < 0.05). Correlation performed on data subsets demonstrated the pronated foot type (FPI = +6 to +9) and maximum rearfoot eversion angle were more strongly positively correlated (r = 0.81, p < 0.05) than the normal foot type (FPI = 0 to +5) and maximum rearfoot eversion (r = 0.76, p < 0.05). Correlations between frontal plane rearfoot FPI score and frontal plane motion during gait were strongly positive, (r = 0.79 p < 0.05 pronated group, r = 0.71 p < 0.05 normal group), however were less strong than the total FPI score and rearfoot motion. Linear regression analysis demonstrated a significant and strong relationship between the total FPI score and maximum rearfoot eversion (r2 = 0.85, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest the FPI has strong predictive ability for dynamic rearfoot function. This will assist in clinical screening and research by allowing easy classification by functional foot type. Positive correlations between frontal plane rearfoot measurements and maximum rearfoot eversion suggest the FPI may identify dominant planar components of dynamic rearfoot motion and warrants further investigation.