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J Rheumatol. 2004 Oct;31(10):1918-27.

Multisegment foot motion during gait: proof of concept in rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Musculoskeletal Disease, The University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. j.woodburn@leeds.ac.uk



To test a multisegment foot model for kinematic analysis during barefoot walking in patients with well established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and foot impairments.


Five healthy adult subjects and 11 RA patients with advanced disease were studied. Foot impairments were assessed using standardized outcomes and clinical examination techniques. A 6-camera 60 Hz video-based motion analysis system was used to measure motion of the shank, rearfoot, forefoot, and hallux segments and the vertical displacement of the navicular. Face validity and estimates of repeatability were determined. Motion patterns were calculated and comparisons were made between healthy subjects and patients with RA. Relationships between clinical impairment and abnormal motion were determined through inspection of individual RA cases.


Across the motion variables, the within-day and between-day coefficient of multiple correlation values ranged from 0.677 to 0.982 for the healthy subjects and 0.830 to 0.981 for RA patients. Based on previous studies, motion parameters for the healthy subjects showed excellent face validity. In RA patients, there was reduced range of motion across all segments and all planes of motion, which was consistent with joint stiffness. In the RA patients, rearfoot motion was shifted towards eversion and external rotation and peak values for these variables were increased, on average, by 7 degrees and 11 degrees, respectively. Forefoot range of motion was reduced in all 3 planes (between 31% and 53%), but the maximum and minimum angles were comparable to normal. The navicular height, during full foot contact, was on average 3 mm lower in the RA patients in comparison to normal. The hallux was less extended in the RA subjects in comparison to normal (21 degrees vs 33 degrees) during the terminal stance phase. Individual cases showed abnormal patterns of motion consistent with their clinical impairments, especially those with predominant forefoot pain or pes planovalgus.


In RA, multisegment foot models may provide a more complete description of foot motion abnormalities where pathology presents at multiple joints, leading to complex and varied patterns of impairment. This technique may be useful to evaluate functional changes in the foot and to help plan and assess logical, structurally based corrective interventions.

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