Background: The foot is an important and complex structure that provides support, balance and propulsion to locomotion, thus, its proper care can help to have a better life quality avoiding pain. The medial longitudinal arch is an important structure that is related to injury risks when it shows some impairment. The purpose of this study was to characterize the foot arch index in people in relation to age and gender.
Methods: The sample was composed of a total of 122 subjects, 79 healthy young subjects (40 women and 39 men) and 43 healthy elderly subjects (32 women and 11 men). Ten seconds of standing barefoot plantar pressure was measure through Tekscan F-Scan device, and the data processing, filtering, and arch index (AI) calculation were performed using MATLAB™ 7.0.
Findings: The elderly group presented a lower arch (AI-0.23) than the young group (AI-0.13) (p=0.000); young female and male groups show similar AI, while the elderly female group showed lower arch (AI-0.23) than the elderly male group (AI-0.18) (p=0.033).
Interpretation: The foot arch has a trend to be lower with aging, and even lower within elderly female subjects, probably due to some decrease within plantar muscle’s stiffness, that in turn may be related to lower physical activity and footwear choices.