What is plantar pressures measured for in clinical practice?

Plantar pressure measuring is a method which is getting increasingly used in clinical assessments. It is useful to examine for things like how much force there is underneath the feet, that may be crucial to find out in those with diabetes mellitus that are vulnerable to a foot wound. Plantar pressures are also employed to help decide how people walk and the pressure shifts throughout the gait cycle. This is often useful information that will help clinicians order and design foot orthotics. This really is such an vital problem that an episode of the livestream, PodChatLive was devoted to it. PodChatlive is a Facebook live that has 2 hosts plus a different invitee on every episode where they go over subject areas of significance to podiatry as well as related issues. It's also published to YouTube and as an audio podcast.

In that episode, they discussed plantar pressures and pressure mapping with Dr Bruce Williams DPM from Indiana, USA. He is a Fellow and previous President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and who owns Breakthrough Podiatry in NorthWest Indiana and has substantial experience 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 center and has been doing so for almost 20 years now. He is well published on this topic in peer reviewed academic journals, so is well placed to talk about this issue. In the edition of PodChatLive they discussed exactly what the centre of pressure is and just how it can be used clinically to determine what is going on. Additionally they talked about how pressure info influences his clinical decision making, particularly foot orthotic recommending. They talked about the advantages and disadvantages of in-shoe versus the mat technology and try to provide some guidance to those who may be thinking of introducing this type of service to their clinics.