Matthew Beerse, Ph.D.
Health and Sport Science
The foot, functioning as a lever to support our body weight during movement, can present with structural differences like a smaller arch height resulting in pes planus or flat feet, or a higher arch height which is called pes cavus. Commonly, arch height develops with age, as infants are born with flat feet and, as they grow, their arches develop until the ages of 10-13 years. Dysfunction in the foot from abnormal arches has been shown to impact foot function and ankle stabilization, which can influence sports performance and injury risk. Dynamic balance is an important aspect of many different types of sports and can be an indicator of good performance. The purpose of this study is to inform clinicians and athletes of the effects of different arch heights on dynamic balance and muscle activation, so that correct interventions can be implemented to improve performance. This study looked at 15 healthy young adults between the ages 23- 25 years. We evaluated arch height index (AHI) by scanning the volume of their foot in a single leg stance of their dominant leg. Participants then performed three trials of the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) to evaluate dynamic balance. A motion capture system was used to obtain reach distance, center of pressure sway on a force plate and muscle activation of muscles of the thigh and shank. This study aims to conclude how dynamic balance is impacted by arch height looking at correlations between arch height and each of the variables. Our results will demonstrate how different muscles might activate across different arch heights. Practitioners might then implement exercises to target specific muscles that are under or over utilized.
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Offstein, Kale R., "Effect of Arch Height on Dynamic Balance and Neuromuscular Control in Young Adults" (2023). Honors Theses. 413.