Multistep Measurement of Plantar Pressure Alterations Using Metatarsal Pads
Format of Original
Foot & Ankle International
Original Item ID
Metatarsal pads are frequently prescribed for nonoperative management of metatarsalgia due to various etiologies. When appropriately placed, they are effective in reducing pressures under the metatarsal heads on the plantar surface of the foot. Despite the positive clinical reports that have been cited, there are no quantitative studies documenting the load redistribution effects of these pads during multiple step usage within the shoe environment. The objective of this study was to assess changes in plantar pressure metrics resulting from pad use. Ten normal adult male subjects were tested during a series of 400-step trials. Pressures were recorded from eight discrete plantar locations at the hindfoot, midfoot, and forefoot regions of the insole. Significant increases in peak pressures, contact durations, and pressure-time integrals were noted at the metatarsal shaft region with pad use (P ≤ .05). Statistically significant changes in metric values were not seen at the other plantar locations, although metatarsal pad use resulted in mild decreases in mean peak pressures at the first and second metatarsal heads and slight increases laterally. Contact durations decreased at all metatarsal head locations, while pressure-time integrals decreased at the first, second, third, and fourth metatarsal heads. A slight increase in pressure-time integrals was seen at the fifth metatarsal head. The redistribution of plantar pressures tended to relate not only to the dimensions of the metatarsal pads, but also to foot size, anatomic foot configuration, and pad location. Knowledge of these parameters, along with careful control of pad dimensions and placement, allows use of the metatarsal pad as an effective orthotic device for redistributing forefoot plantar pressures.