Study design Prospective Study.
Introduction With the aim to deal with the probability of metatarsal bone stress injuries and stress fractures we detect and categorize functional alterations during forefoot loadings in plantar pressure area in athletes and explore the frequency of functional alterations.
Methods 58 elite track & field athletes (experimental group) and age/sex matched healthy volunteers (control group) conducted dynamic plantar foot pressure and leg-length measurements at the National Track and Field Center in Sports Medicine Clinic of S.E.G.A.S., Thessaloniki (Greece). Pressure, area and force during gait were measured. Measurements were performed during free walking at a speed of 5km/h. Measurements were conducted with T & T MEDILOGIC dynamic foot pressure platform with 2048 SSR-sensors. Statistical analysis and a comparison between the two groups for the metatarsal specific areas mean pressures in both foots (R: right foot, L: left foot) were made by using statistical analysis software. Clinical findings were also assessed.
Results Anatomical alterations are descriptively presented. In functional alterations, four forefoot metatarsal print indices were categorized as follows: 1. metatarsal arch, 2. metatarsal fall, 3. metatarsal heads and 4. metatarsal varus.
Metatarsal fall and metatarsal varus mean loadings were higher in both feet for the non-athletes. Athletes presented higher percentage of metatarsal arch fall. Factor loadings indicate metatarsal arch fall as a separate factor compared with the other variables.
Conclusions Present findings suggest that high impact sporting activities like sprinting, jumping, throwing and long distance running lead to variations in forefoot plantar pressure area. In 29 elite track and field athletes, metatarsal arch and metatarsal heads fall exist in a relatively high percentage. Control group did not have the same high percentage of metatarsal arch and metatarsal heads alteration as athletes but they had significantly higher loadings in metatarsal fall alteration.
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