Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums

You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members, upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, access other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisements in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!

  1. Everything that you are ever going to want to know about running shoes: Running Shoes Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Have you considered the Critical Thinking and Skeptical Boot Camp, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
Dismiss Notice
Have you liked us on Facebook to get our updates? Please do. Click here for our Facebook page.
Dismiss Notice
Do you get the weekly newsletter that Podiatry Arena sends out to update everybody? If not, click here to organise this.

Foot Orthotics and Weakening of Muscle Strength?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by NewsBot, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    The Effects of a 12-Week Custom Foot Orthotic Intervention on the Intrinsic Muscles of the Foot, and Dynamic Stability During Unexpected Gait Termination in Healthy Young Adults
    Protopapas, Katrina,
    Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2017
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Interesting to see how this plays out ...
    I only have access to abstract and not full methods to appraise, but it looks OK from the abstract. Lets see if it gets published in full.

    So what we have:
    1 cross sectional case control study showing a weakness (published)
    1 cross sectional study showing orthotic group stronger (unpublished but in public domain))
    1 prospective study showing a decrease in strength (unpublished thesis abstract)
    2 prospective studies showing an increase in strength (published)
    1 prospective study showing no change in strength (unpublished but in public domain)
  4. efuller

    efuller MVP

    " With the plantar intrinsic muscles of the foot being in direct contact with the CFO, it puts these structures at risk for disuse muscle atrophy as a result of being offloaded."

    I'm still trying to figure out how the orthotic being in contact offloads the intrinsic muscle. That statement doesn't really matter if the research question is do orthotics change the strength of intrinsic muscles. They would still have to look for both increase in strength and decrease in strength. ​
  5. A change in cross sectional area of a muscle does not mean it is weaker. It means it has a decreased cross-sectional area. Period. We don't know how much cross-sectional area each plantar intrinsic muscle needs to be considered "weak". In other words, how much loss of cross-sectional area makes a plantar intrinsic functionally "too weak". Will the CNS will simply recruit more of the muscle when demands are high in a plantar intrinsic muscle, making it slightly smaller but more efficient? We simply don't know.

    My guess is that the orthosis is reducing the demand on the plantar intrinsics over time thereby reducing it's cross sectional area. It remains to be seen 1) does a small decrease in plantar intrinsic muscle cross-sectional area result in any functional differences in foot function (I tend to doubt it), and 2) what is the minimum muscle strength needed in the plantar intrinsics in order for the CNS to allow the foot function normally (we don't know that either).

    I predict that there will be a number of physiotherapists and barefoot/minimalist shoe advocates who will latch onto this study to declare that foot orthoses should only be used short term since they cause "foot weakness" over time. I'm sorry, after treating ten's of thousands of people with foot orthoses over the last 30+ years, I have yet to see one single patient develop "foot weakness" from wearing their orthoses on a regular basis. I tell all my patients to keep their orthoses inside their shoes if they are making them more comfortable, but take them out if they are causing discomfort. There are no negative health consequences to wearing well-made custom foot orthoses for years upon years. If someone tells you that, ask them to produce the evidence otherwise. There is none.
  6. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    "With the plantar intrinsic muscles of the foot being in direct contact with the CFO, it puts these structures at risk for disuse muscle atrophy as a result of being offloaded."
    How does this work? No muscle is in 'direct contact' with the foot orthoses. If 'in contact' how would that necessarily 'offload'?
  7. Mark,

    This is pure conjecture and makes me worry about whether the researchers doing this study had a pre-research agenda to push across that foot orthoses "weaken" feet. It really is nonsensical since the skin is first in contact with the orthosis, then the subcutaneous fat, then the plantar aponeurosis and finally the plantar intrinsic muscles. Why don't the skin, adipose and plantar fascia atrophy also when wearing foot orthoses? Ridiculous!
  8. don't we also have Lukes study saying the intrinsic muscles are more Active when there is an orthotic being warn ?
  9. Not really on subject but this is not quite true, We have discussed anti pronation devices may increase the likelyhood of Medial knee OA, and everytime an orthotic is warn, certain sections of the body will be getting an increase in stress, while others less, so while it may be impossible to say over years and years ( decades even) devices may lead to breakdown in soft tissues, it is just impossible to say that there are no negative Health consequences. yes it is hair splitting
  10. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    Apologies Eric, I missed your post till now. Obviously I would not have posted later in the thread if I had so, all the best, Mark
  11. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    I completely agree.. consider elite downhill skiers who are encased in very rigid footwear or elite cyclists who spend hours in rigid footwear. Is their cross-sectional area compromised directly relating to strength.. I doubt it. It may well be that this is simply a normalisation back to a more functional cross-sectional area. but, as you say.. we simply don't know. Too early to jump to big conclusions though. I look forward to the deafening noise of practitioners bleating that orthoses cause weakness!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2017
  12. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I shared this widely on social media a week ago .... deafening silence from those fan boys so far...
  13. Dieter Fellner

    Dieter Fellner Well-Known Member

    Haven't read the full paper, but really? Might as well speculate the 'intrinsic' musculature was hypertrophied due to abnormal foot instability and recruitment of intrinsics in an attempt to stabilize the foot, a condition which was then restored with the use of foot orthosis.

    What's next, the world is flat (wait, it might be....)
  14. scotfoot

    scotfoot Active Member

    If skeletal muscle is subjected to repeated compression , such as would occur in the abductor hallucis with the use of an orthotic that included a medial arch support , would this lead to a muscle with a reduced intersitial fluid content ,and hence reduced cross sectional area ?

    Also , in the case of older individuals with age related intrinsic muscle atrophy , I wonder if the exercises of Mickle et al 2016 , might improve orthotic efficacy by restoring intrinsic volume . What say you Dieter ?

  15. scotfoot

    scotfoot Active Member

    On a similar theme , would increasing the volume of the intrinsic foot muscles in the intrinsic minus foot help improve the effectiveness of a medial arch support ? I believe it would .
    So can this volume increase be achieved ? We are about to find out . (see PDF link below )
    Could be a very important piece of research .
    Evaluating a foot strengthening exercise program to improve foot ...
    https://249kl22iwv073rrkjr3zufqg-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/.../Project_Summary_te...18 Apr 2017 - Evaluating a foot strengthening exercise program to improve foot function ... Victoria University: Dr Karen Mickle, Professor Rezaul Begg and ...

Share This Page