Abstract

Prolonged static weight bearing is thought to aggravate plantar heel pain and is common in the workplace, which may put employees at greater risk of developing plantar heel pain. However, objective measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in the workplace are lacking, making it difficult to establish or refute the connection between work exposure and plantar heel pain. Characterizing loading patterns during common workplace postures will enhance the understanding of foot function and inform the development of new measurement tools. Plantar pressure data during periods of sitting, standing and walking was measured in ten healthy participants using the F-Scan in-shoe measurement system (Tekscan Inc, Boston, USA). Peak and average pressure, peak and average contact area, and average pressure differential were analyzed in ten different regions of the foot. A two-way repeated measures ANOVA assessed the posture by foot region interaction for each measurement parameter; significant effects of posture by foot region were identified for all five measurement parameters. Ten foot-region by measurement parameter combinations were found to significantly differentiate all three postures simultaneously; seven used pressure measures to differentiate while three used area measures. The heel, lateral midfoot, and medial and central forefoot encompassed nine of ten areas capable of differentiating all postures simultaneously. This work demonstrates that plantar pressure is a viable means to characterize and differentiate three common workplace postures. The results of this study can inform the development of measurement tools for quantifying posture duration at work.

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