Foot type and tibialis anterior muscle activity during the stance phase of gait: A pilot study

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Background – Normal functioning of the lower limb depends on correct functioning of the foot. It is hypothesized that abnormal foot biomechanics associated with different foot types, may lead to abnormal stresses on proximal muscular structures. These abnormal stresses may eventually result in musculoskeletal injuries.

Method – This experimental pilot study investigated tibialis anterior (TA) muscle electromyography (EMG) activity during stance phase of gait in healthy participants with supinated (n=8), normal (n=10) and pronated (n=10) feet. Subjects walked on a gait analysis treadmill and EMG activity of TA was recorded simultaneously. The total activity of TA during four phases of stance was compared between the three groups.

Results – No statistically significant differences were found in the EMG activity of TA during any of the stance phases of gait for subjects classified in supinated, normal and pronated groups (p>0.05).

Implications – There is no evidence to support the view that foot type will lead to lower limb injury as a consequence of altered TA muscle activity.

Conclusion – It seems that foot type may not be a factor in the development of TA related overuse injuries. However investigation of more severe groups of pronated and supinated subjects may be more revealing.

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