How are plantar pressures measured?

Plantar pressure measuring is a method that is getting increasingly utilised in clinical practice. It's helpful to examine for things like how much force there may be underneath the feet, which could be vital to ascertain in people that have diabetes mellitus who are prone to a foot ulcer. Plantar pressures will also be used to help work out how people walk and how pressure shifts throughout the gait cycle. This is often valuable information to help clinicians prescribe and design foot orthotics. This really is such an fundamental problem that an episode of the live, PodChatLive was devoted to it. PodChatlive is a Facebook livestream which has two hosts plus a different invitee on each show where they discuss subjects of significance to podiatry and related subject areas. It's also uploaded to YouTube and as an audio podcast.

In that show, they discussed plantar pressures and pressure mapping with Dr Bruce Williams DPM from Indiana, USA. He is a Fellow and former President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and owner of Breakthrough Podiatry in NorthWest Indiana and has considerable expertise on plantar pressure measurements, pressure mapping in addition to their interpretation and clinical application. He makes use of both the in-shoe system and pressure mat devices in his clinic and has been doing so for almost 20 years now. He is well published on this subject in peer reviewed academic publications, so is well placed to talk about this issue. In the episode of PodChatLive they talked about what the centre of pressure can be and how it can be used clinically to determine what is happening. Additionally they talked about just how pressure information influences his clinical decision making, particularly foot orthotic design. They reviewed the pros and cons of in-shoe in comparison to the mat technology and then try to provide some advice to those who may be considering adding this type of service to their practice.