Why are plantar pressures so important?
Plantar pressure measurement is a method which is becoming increasingly employed in clinical practice. It is useful to assess for such things as just how much strain there may be underneath the foot, that may be crucial to ascertain in those with diabetes that are at risk of a foot wound. Plantar pressures can also be helpful to help determine how people walk and the pressure shifts during the gait cycle. This could be valuable information to help clinicians prescribe and design foot orthoses. This is such an important problem that an episode of the live, PodChatLive was focused on it. PodChatlive is a Facebook live which has 2 hosts plus a different guest on each episode where they speak about issues of importance to podiatry and related issues. It is also uploaded to YouTube and as an audio podcast.
In that episode, they discussed plantar pressures and pressure mapping with Dr Bruce Williams DPM from Indiana, USA. Bruce is a Fellow and former President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and owner of Breakthrough Podiatry in NorthWest Indiana and has considerable experience on plantar pressure measurements, pressure mapping as well as their understanding and clinical application. Bruce makes use of both the in-shoe method and pressure mat devices in his clinic and has been doing this for nearly two decades now. He is well published on this subject in peer reviewed educational publications, so is well placed to speak about this topic. In the edition of PodChatLive they reviewed exactly what the centre of pressure is and how it can be used clinically to learn what is happening. Additionally they discussed how pressure info impacts his clinical decision making, especially foot orthotic prescribing. They discussed the pros and cons of in-shoe compared to the mat technology and try to present some guidance to those who may be contemplating including this kind of service to their practice.