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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 827671, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/827671
Clinical Study

Effects of Wearing Different Personal Equipment on Force Distribution at the Plantar Surface of the Foot

1Department of Orthopaedics, University of Rostock, Doberaner Straße 142, 18057 Rostock, Germany
2Bundeswehr Institute of Sports Medicine, Dr.-Rau-Allee 32, 48231 Warendorf, Germany
3Rostock Military Medical Center, Hohe Duene 30, 18119 Rostock, Germany

Received 19 February 2013; Accepted 23 April 2013

Academic Editors: S. P. Grogan, K. Ogawa, and R. Pflugmacher

Copyright © 2013 Christoph Schulze et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. The wearing of personal equipment can cause specific changes in muscle activity and posture. In the present study, we investigated the influence of differences in equipment related weight loading and load distribution on plantar pressure. In addition, we studied functional effects of wearing different equipment with a particular focus on relevant changes in foot shape. Methods. Static and dynamic pedobarography were performed on 31 male soldiers carrying increasing weights consisting of different items of equipment. Results. The pressure acting on the plantar surface of the foot increased with higher loading, both under static and dynamic conditions (p < 0.05). We observed an increase in the contact area (p < 0.05) and an influence of load distribution through different ways to carry the rifle. Conclusions. The wearing of heavier weights leads to an increase in plantar pressure and contact area. This may be caused by flattening of the transverse and longitudinal arches. The effects are more evident in subjects with flat feet deformities which seem to flatten at an earlier load condition with a greater amount compared to subjects with normal arches. Improving load distribution should be a main goal in the development of military equipment in order to prevent injuries or functional disorders of the lower extremity.