Why do Podiatrists measure pressure under the foot?

Plantar pressure measurement is a method that is becoming increasingly employed in clinical evaluations. It can be useful to assess for such things as just how much stress there exists underneath the feet, that may be essential to ascertain in those with diabetes mellitus who are susceptible to a foot ulcer. Plantar pressures will also be helpful to help determine how people walk and how pressure changes during the gait cycle. This is often useful information to help podiatrists order and design foot orthoses. This really is such an important problem that an episode of the livestream, PodChatLive ended up being devoted to this. PodChatlive is a Facebook live that has two hosts plus a different invitee on each show where they explore topics of relevance to podiatry and related topics. It is usually uploaded to YouTube and as an audio podcast.

In that episode, they discussed plantar pressures and pressure mapping together with Dr Bruce Williams DPM from Indiana, USA. Bruce 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 and their interpretation and clinical use. Bruce uses both the in-shoe system and pressure mat devices within his clinic and has been doing this for almost two decades now. He is well published on this topic in peer reviewed scholastic journals, so is in a position to speak about this subject. In the episode of PodChatLive they talked about exactly what the centre of pressure can be and how it can be used clinically to determine what is occurring. Additionally they discussed how pressure info influences his clinical decision making, especially foot orthotic design. They reviewed the advantages and disadvantages of in-shoe versus the mat technologies and try to present some advice to those who might be thinking of including this type of service to their practice.