Dynamic plantar loading index detects altered foot function in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis but not changes due to orthotic use

Scott Telfer*, Elien Baeten, Kellie. S. Gibson, Martijn P. Steultjens, Deborah E. Turner, James Woodburn, Gordon J. Hendry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Altered foot function is common in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Plantar pressure distributions during gait are regularly assessed in this patient group; however, the association between frequently reported magnitude-based pressure variables and clinical outcomes has not been clearly established. Recently, a novel approach to the analysis of plantar pressure distributions throughout stance phase, the dynamic plantar loading index, has been proposed. This study aimed to assess the utility of this index for measuring foot function in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
METHODS: Barefoot plantar pressures during gait were measured in 63 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 51 matched controls. Additionally, 15 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis had in-shoe plantar pressures measured whilst walking in standardized footwear for two conditions: shoes-only; and shoes with prescribed custom foot orthoses. The dynamic plantar loading index was determined for all participants and conditions. Patient and control groups were compared for significant differences as were the shod and orthosis conditions.

FINDINGS: The patient group was found to have a mean index of 0.19, significantly lower than the control group's index of 0.32 (p>0.001, 95% CI [0.054, 0.197]). No significant differences were found between the shoe-only and shoe plus orthosis conditions. The loading index was found to correlate with clinical measures of structural deformity.

 The dynamic plantar loading index may be a useful tool for researchers and clinicians looking to objectively assess dynamic foot function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis; however, it may be unresponsive to changes caused by orthotic interventions in this patient group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1031
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number9
Early online date4 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • plantar pressure distribution
  • podiatry
  • foot orthoses
  • foot


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