Plantar pressure measurement is a technique which is becoming more and more utilised in clinical evaluations. It's useful to evaluate for things like how much pressure there may be under the feet, which could be crucial to determine in people that have diabetes who are at risk of a foot ulcer. Plantar pressures may also be helpful to help work out how people walk and how strain alters throughout the gait cycle. This could be valuable information to help clinicians prescribe and design foot supports. This is such an fundamental topic that an episode of the live, PodChatLive ended up being about it. PodChatlive is a Facebook live that has two hosts and a different guest on each show where they talk about subjects of importance to podiatry and related subject areas. It is usually uploaded to YouTube and as an audio podcast.
In that show, they talked plantar pressures and pressure mapping with Dr Bruce Williams DPM from Indiana, USA. Bruce is a Fellow and past President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and who owns Breakthrough Podiatry in NorthWest Indiana and has considerable knowledge on plantar pressure measurements, pressure mapping as well as their understanding and clinical use. Bruce makes use of both the in-shoe system and pressure mat equipment within his facility and has been doing so for almost two decades now. He is well published on this topic in peer reviewed academic journals, so is in a position to speak about this issue. In the episode of PodChatLive they reviewed what the centre of pressure can be and just how it can be used clinically to determine what is occurring. They also discussed exactly how pressure information impacts his clinical decision making, particularly foot orthotic prescribing. They talked about the pros and cons of in-shoe in comparison to the mat technologies and try to present some advice to those who might be thinking of including this kind of service to their practice.