The objective of this study was to compare disease activity, impairments, disability, foot function and gait characteristics between a well described cohort of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients and normal healthy controls using a7-segment foot model and three-dimensional gait analysis.
Fourteen patients with JIA (mean (standard deviation) age of 12.4 years (3.2)) and a history of foot disease and 10 healthy children (mean (standard deviation) age of 12.5 years (3.4)) underwent three-dimensional gait analysis and plantar pressure analysis to measure biomechanical foot function. Localised disease impact and foot-specific disease activity were determined using the juvenile arthritis foot disability index, rear- and forefoot deformity scores, and clinical and musculoskeletal ultrasound examinations respectively. Mean differences between groups with associated 95% confidence intervals were calculated using the t distribution.
Mild-to-moderate foot impairments and disability but low levels of disease activity were detected in the JIA group. In comparison with healthy subjects, minor trends towards increased midfoot dorsiflexion and reduced lateral forefoot abduction within a 3–5° range were observed in patients with JIA. The magnitude and timing of remaining kinematic, kinetic and plantar pressure distribution variables during the stance phase were similar for both groups.
In children and adolescents with JIA, foot function as determined by a multi-segment foot model did not differ from that of normal age- and gender-matched subjects despite moderate foot impairments and disability scores. These findings may indicate that tight control of active foot disease may prevent joint destruction and associated structural and functional impairments.
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- multi-segment foot model
- plantar pressure distribution
- foot function