Pressure characteristics in painful pes cavus feet resulting from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Jack Crosbie, Joshua Burns, Robert A Ouvrier
Gait & Posture 2008, 28 (4): 545-51
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease often presents with peripheral muscle imbalance associated with a painful cavus (medial high-arched) foot deformity which becomes increasingly severe and rigid as the disease progresses. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of pes cavus on foot pain and dynamic plantar pressure in CMT, and to explore the relationships between plantar pressure and pain. Sixteen participants diagnosed with CMT and painful pes cavus were assessed for foot posture, ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, levels of foot pain, functional impairment, health-related quality of life and plantar pressure distribution while walking. Plantar pressure parameters (mean pressure, peak pressure, pressure-time integral) and contact duration were measured using the Novel Pedar in-shoe capacitance transducer system and the foot was divided into rearfoot, midfoot and forefoot regions for analysis. Increasing cavus foot deformity was associated with more widespread foot pain and increased pressure under the forefoot and midfoot regions. In contrast, peak pressure decreased under the rearfoot. Neither relationship was found between foot pain intensity and any of the pressure variables, nor was ankle dorsiflexion range of motion correlated with pain location, intensity or degree of pes cavus. Although pes cavus in CMT is associated with substantial pain and dysfunction, there is no clear link between foot pain and plantar pressure. The more severe the degree of pes cavus, however, the more pressure develops under the lateral margin of the foot; probably as a result of the changed foot-ground contact seen during gait.

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