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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Nov;25(11):1674-9.

Plantar pressure differences between obese and non-obese adults: a biomechanical analysis.

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School of Human Movement Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



To investigate plantar pressure differences between obese and non-obese adults during standing and walking protocols using a pressure distribution platform.


Thirty-five males (age 42.4+/-10.8 y; 67-179 kg) and 35 females (age 40.0+/-12.6 y; 46-150 kg) divided into obese (body mass index (BMI) 38.75+/-5.97 kg/m2) and non-obese (BMI 24.28+/-3.00 kg/m2) sub-groups, respectively.


Data collection was performed with a capacitive pressure distribution platform with a resolution of 2 sensors/cm2 (Emed F01, Novel GmbH, M√ľnchen). The measurement protocol included half and full body weight standing on the left, right and both feet, respectively, and walking across the platform, striking with the right foot. Pressures were evaluated for eight anatomical sites under the feet.


For both men and women, the mean pressure values of the obese were higher under all anatomical landmarks during half body weight standing. Significant increases in pressure were found under the heel, mid-foot and metatarsal heads II and IV for men and III and IV for women. Foot width during standing was also significantly increased in obese subjects. For walking, significantly higher peak pressures were also found in both obese males and females.


Compared to a non-obese group, obese subjects showed increased forefoot width and higher plantar pressures during standing and walking. The greatest effect of body weight on higher peak pressures in the obese was found under the longitudinal arch of the foot and under the metatarsal heads. The higher pressures for obese women compared to obese men during static weight bearing (standing) may be the result of reduced strength of the ligaments of the foot.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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