Background

The effects of shoes and foot type on balance are unclear. We aimed to investigate the differences between static and dynamic balance among three foot types and the changes in postural balance while wearing typical athletic shoes.

Methods

Based on the Foot Posture Index, the feet of 39 participants were classified as pronated, neutral, or supinated by a physiatrist. Static and dynamic balance function were assessed by center of gravity (COG) sway velocity with eyes open and eyes closed and a modified Star Excursion Balance Test in a random order with participants either barefoot or wearing shoes.

Results

The COG sway velocity was significantly higher in the supinated foot group than in the neutral foot group (barefoot: eyes open, P = .004, eyes closed, P = .001). Normalized composite reach distance (NCRD) was significantly lower in the pronated and supinated foot groups (barefoot: P = .039, P = .008; shoes: P = .018, P = .018). In all three foot type groups, COG sway velocity was significantly decreased (P < .05) and NCRD was significantly increased (P < .05) while wearing typical athletic shoes.

Conclusions

The medial longitudinal arch of the foot affects postural balance. Typical athletic shoes improve postural balance regardless of foot type. However, the pronated and supinated foot groups still had lower dynamic postural balance compared with the neutral foot group, even when wearing athletic shoes. People with pronated and supinated feet may need additional interventions, such as foot orthoses or balance training.

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