Purpose: Stroke-related changes in foot structure and function affect balance and mobility and quantifying foot function following stroke could offer clinically useful information to inform rehabilitation. The aim of this work was to explore the feasibility of undertaking plantar pressure assessment during barefoot walking in people with stroke, and evaluate the repeatability of the assessment protocol and regional footprint analysis as a measure of dynamic foot characteristics. Materials &methods: Plantar pressure analysis was undertaken using a pressure platform (Tekscan HR Mat) on two test sessions, approximately two weeks apart (mean = 15.64 ± 11.64 days). Peak plantar pressure (kPa) and contact area (cm2) for foot regions were extracted and repeatability analysis undertaken. Descriptive evaluation of field notes and experiences of the participants was undertaken to inform the feasibility of the data collection protocol. Results: Twenty-one participants (61.8 ± 9.2 years; 11 male, 10 female; 8 right-sided, 13 left-sided stroke) were recruited and 18 returned for retesting. Full data capture was achieved from 14 participants. Peak pressure and contact area demonstrated moderate to good repeatability for at the toes (ICC 0.76 and 0.58 respectively) and good to excellent repeatability for the other foot regions (ICC ≥ 0.82). Conclusion: The protocol adopted in this study was feasible and yielded good to excellent repeatability for the foot regions, except the toes. The challenges with data collection in our study cohort could help inform future studies adopting similar protocols. This work also has relevance for use of pressure technology in clinical practice for assessing and monitoring foot function following stroke.
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- Plantar pressure
- Foot and ankle
- Foot loading