Plantar pressures during barefoot walking

Martyn R. Shorten, Karen Beekman Eden, Jennifer A. Himmelsbach

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Plantar pressure distributions under the right foot were sampled at 70Hz using a capacitance mat system while 65 males and 66 female subjects walked barefoot at 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 ms-1. A shape transformation algorithm was used to normalise pressure distributions from different subjects to a standard foot shape, size and orientation. Average peak pressure under the heel increased from 367 kPa ± 115 sd at 1.0 ms-1 to 517 kPa ± 158 sd at 1.5 ms-1 and 734 kPa ± 184 sd at 2.0 ms-1. Forefoot pressure peaks increased from 635 kPa ± 211 sd at 1.0 ms-1 to 737 kPa ± 226 sd and 794 kPa ± 217 sd at the higher speeds. While peak pressures under the first metatarsalphalangeal joint (MTPJ) increased with speed, peak pressures under the 2nd and 3rd MTPJ s did not increase between 1.5 and 2.0 ms-1 and peaks under the 4th and 5th MTPJs decreased across the three speeds. No correlation was found between body mass and peak heel pressure. Significant correlations between forefoot peaks and mass were found at 1.5 and 2.0 ms-1, but shared variance was low (<8%). At each speed, male subjects had significantly greater midfoot and lateral forefoot pressure peaks than females. The observed unweighting of the lateral forefoot at higher speeds is consistent with a shift from the oblique to the transverse axis of the forefoot. The lower lateral forefoot pressures in female subjects may be because a given absolute speed represents a higher relative speed for subjects of smaller stature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes
EventAbstracts of the XII Congress, International Society of Biomechanics - Los Angeles, CA, USA
Duration: Jun 26 1989Jun 30 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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