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Foot Ankle Int. 1994 Jan;15(1):29-34.

Severe obesity: effects on foot mechanics during walking.

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J. B. Snow Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Health and Sport Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109.


The purpose of our study was to determine the effects of severe obesity on the foot mechanics of adult females. Twenty-nine adult females between the ages of 20 and 48 years volunteered as subjects for this investigation. The subjects were separated into a severely obese (O) group (body mass index = 41.14 +/- 2.61; N = 16) and a normal weight control group (body mass index = 20.84 +/- 0.47; N = 13). A Locam camera (100 Hz) positioned perpendicular to the subjects' posterior aspect was used to film the rearfoot movement of the subjects during the final 15 sec of a 10 min treadmill walk. The O group had a significantly greater touchdown angle (P = .05), more total eversion range of motion (P = .001), and a faster maximum eversion velocity (P < .001). Moreover, analysis of dynamic foot angles indicated that the O group had significantly (P = .003) more forefoot abduction. Finally, anthropometric data revealed statistically different (P < .001) Q angle measurements between the O and control groups. The results of this study suggest that severely obese females have significantly greater rearfoot motion, foot angle, and Q angle values than normal weight females.

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