Obesity is Associated With Altered Plantar Pressure Distribution in Older Women

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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Increased plantar pressure has been found to be related with greater risk of falling. Although there is evidence suggesting that obesity is linked to foot disorders, the association between obesity and plantar pressure of older adults has been poorly investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between obesity and plantar pressure distribution and to explore its relationship with body fat distribution. Two hundred and eleven older women took part in this cross-sectional study. Body mass index was taken for obesity classification. Whole body, android, and gynoid fat percentage was assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Peak plantar pressure was evaluated during gait using an Emed AT-4 pressure platform. Obese volunteers generated greater peak pressure at midfoot (187.26 kPa) compared to both normal weight (128.52 kPa, p < .001) and overweight (165.74 kPa, p < .001). Peak plantar pressure at midfoot was also greater in overweight compared to normal weight (p < .001). At forefoot, peak pressure was higher in the obese (498.15 kPa) compared to normal weight volunteers (420.41 kPa, p = .007). Additionally, whole body, android, and gynoid fat percentage were significantly associated with peak pressure at midfoot and forefoot. Therefore, clinicians dealing with falls should consider the effect of increased body weight on plantar pressure.

Neri, Gadelha, Correia, Pereira, de David, and Lima are with the College of Physical Education, University of Brasília, Brasília/DF, Brazil.

Address author correspondence to Silvia Gonçalves Ricci Neri at silvia_grn@hotmail.com.
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