Background: Risk of overuse injury among athletes is high due in part to repeated loading of the lower extremities. Compared to individuals with normal arch (NA) structure, those with high (HA) or low arch (LA) may be at increased risk of specific overuse injuries, including stress fractures. A high medial longitudinal arch may result in decreased shock absorbing properties due to increased rigidity in foot mechanics. While the effect of arch structure on dynamic function has been examined in straight line walking and running, the relationship between the two during multi-directional movements remains unstudied.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if differences in plantar loading in football players occur during both walking and pivoting movements.
Method: Plantar loading was examined in 9 regions of the foot for 26 participants (16 NA, 10 HA).
Results: High arch athletes demonstrated increased maximum force in the lateral rear foot and medial forefoot, and force time integral in the medial forefoot while walking. HA athletes also demonstrated increased maximum force in the medial rear foot and medial and central forefoot during rapid pivoting.
Conclusions: The current findings demonstrate that loading patterns differ between football players with high and normal arch structure, which could possibly influence injury risk in this population.