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29-12-2011 | Surgery | Article

Outer sole foot pressure increased in hallux rigidus


Free abstract

MedWire News: Patients with hallux rigidus, a condition affecting the first metarsophalangeal joint, show an increased pressure transmitted through the outer aspect of the sole of the foot, study findings show.

Hallux rigidus is a manifestation of osteoarthritis that is associated with an altered gait and plantar loading pattern when patients attempt to avoid pain through compensation for motion restriction at the first metatarsophalangeal joint.

Commenting on their study, Hadi Mohammed (Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK) and colleagues say the results may be helpful "in choosing treatment options and managing hallux rigidus patients particularly when using conservative and foot wear considerations."

Mohammed and team assessed foot pressure distributions in eight patients with hallux rigidus using the foot pressure pedobarograph system. In total, five steps were collected for each foot and the peak pressure of the steps was documented, focusing on five key foot regions. Findings were then compared with eight asymptomatic individuals matched for age and gender.

The researchers found that patients with hallux rigidus exerted significantly less pressure under the hallux compared with asymptomatic individuals (220.6 vs 314.7 Pascals).

Following this pattern, hallux rigidus patients exerted significantly more pressure under the third and fourth metatarsal head (265.6 vs 159.5 Pascals), the fifth metatarsal head (180.6 vs 126.9 Pascals), and under the hindfoot (317.8 vs 254.6 Pascals) compared with asymptomatic individuals.

The team suggests that analysis of foot pressures in patients who undergo surgery for hallux rigidus before and after surgery may help confirm whether the procedure has been successful.

"The results of this study give us a good insight into foot pressure distributions in hallux rigidus patients and encourage further research in this area to develop new means to address this pathology, and give us the opportunity to plan our treatment strategy and operations accordingly," conclude the authors in the Journal of Orthopedics, Trauma, and Rehabilitation.

By Ingrid Grasmo

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