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Phys Ther. 2000 Sep;80(9):864-71.

Measurements used to characterize the foot and the medial longitudinal arch: reliability and validity.

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Department of Physical Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353, USA.



Abnormality in the structure of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot is commonly thought to be a predisposing factor to injury. The purpose of this investigation was to compare the reliability and validity of several measurements used to characterize various aspects of the foot, including the medial longitudinal arch.


One hundred two feet (both feet of 51 subjects) were measured to establish a reference database. From this group, a subset of 20 feet (both feet of 10 subjects) was used to determine intertester and intratester reliability. Radiographs of a further subset of 10 feet (right feet of 10 subjects) were used to determine validity.


Five foot measurements were taken in 2 stance conditions: 10% of weight bearing and 90% of weight bearing.


Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for intertester and intratester measurements were between.480 and.995. The most reliable method of characterizing arch type in 10% of weight bearing between testers was dividing navicular height by foot length in 10% of weight bearing. However, this measure yielded highly unreliable measurements in 90% of weight bearing. The most valid measurements were navicular height divided by truncated foot length, navicular height divided by foot length in 10% of weight bearing, and navicular height divided by foot length in 90% of weight bearing. Dorsum height at 50% of foot length divided by truncated foot length showed relatively high intertester reliability (ICC=.811 in 10% of weight bearing, ICC=.848 in 90% of weight bearing) and validity (ICC=.844 in 10% of weight bearing, ICC=.851 in 90% of weight bearing).


These data suggest that, of the measures tested, the most reliable and valid method of clinically assessing arch height across 10% and 90% of weight bearing was dividing the dorsum height at 50% of foot length by truncated foot length.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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