Fore foot types: Differences between forefoot varus and forefoot supinatus.

Certainly this can be a contraversial topic. Perhaps this will help clear up some questions.

Supination of the forefoot that develops with adult acquired flatfoot is defined as forefoot supinatus. This deformity is an acquired soft tissue adaptation in which the forefoot is inverted on the rearfoot. Forefoot supinatus is a reducible deformity. Forefoot supinatus can mimic, and often be mistaken for, a forefoot varus. A forefoot varus differs from forefoot supinatus in that a forefoot varus is a congenital osseous deformity that induces subtalar joint pronation, whereas forefoot supinatus is acquired and develops because of subtalar joint pronation (1).

A Forefoot Varus induces STJ pronation whereas a Forefoot Supinatus is created because of STJ pronation (2).

As the foot experiences increased subtalar joint (STJ) pronation moments during weightbearing activities (as in forefoot supinatus) , the medial metatarsal rays will be subjected to increased dorsiflexion moments and the lateral metatarsal rays will be subjected to decreased dorsiflexion moments. Over time, this increase in STJ pronation moments will tend to cause a lengthening of the plantar ligaments and medial fibers of the central component of the plantar aponeurosis and a shortening of the dorsal ligaments in the medial longitudinal arch. As a result, the influence of increased STJ pronation moments occurring over time during weightbearing activities will tend to cause the following (3):

1. An increase in inverted forefoot deformity.
2. A decrease in everted forefoot deformity.
3. A change in everted forefoot deformity to either a perpendicular forefoot to rearfoot relationship or to an inverted forefoot deformity.

More on the forefoot tomorrow evening on onlinece.com: Biomechanics 309. Join us!

1. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2014 Jul;31(3):405-13. doi: 10.1016/j.cpm.2014.03.009. Forefoot supinatus. Evans EL1, Catanzariti AR2.

2. https://kenva.wordpress.com/…/…/forefoot-varus-or-supinatus/

3. http://www.podiatry-arena.com/podiatry-forum/showthread.php…

Did you see this in our recent blog post here ? a reader made us look closer. Did you catch it ?
The clients right foot appears to have a dropped 1st met head. (we hate this term, because it is not accurate and is a sloppy clinical description). In this still photo it appears plantarflexed.  But in this video, consider the descended 1st met head as due to the disuse or weakness of the EHL muscle (extensor hallucis longus) of the 1st toe. Or, is this in fact a compensated forefoot varus ? Sure looks like it. But with all that anterior compartment weakness (as we discussed in the previous blog post link above) it could just be a mirage. In the photo above, in a normal foot the rearfoot plane (greenline) should parallel the forefoot line (orange line). In this case, in this actively postured foot (thus some inaccuracy here, we are merely making a teaching point from the photo) the upslope of the orange line suggests a forefoot varus. This would be true if the first Metatarsal head also was on this line, but you can see that it has its own idea. This represents, in theory (regarding this photo), a compensated forefoot varus. But remember, this client is  holding the foot actively in this posture. A true hands on assessment is needed to truly define a Forefoot varus, and whether it is anatomic, flexible, rigid or in many cases, just a learned functional posturing from weakness of the flexor/extensor pairing of the 1st metatarsal complex or from other weaknesses of the other forefoot evertors.  It gets complicated as you can see.

As always, knowledge of the anatomy and functional anatomy allows for observation, and observation leads to understanding, which leads to answers and then remedy implementation. Our thoughts, knowing the case, is that this is a functional appearance illusion of a compensated forefoot varus due to the EHL, EDL and tibialis anterior weakness (anterior compartment) and how they play together with the flexors. One must be sure to assess the EHL when examining the foot. Test all of the muscles one by one.  We have been talking about toe extensors for a long time, they can be a paramount steering wheel for the forefoot and arch posture. Podcast 71 talks about this Forefoot varus, and you should care.
In a 2009 study by Reynard et al they concluded: 

  • “The activity of extensor digitorum longus muscle during the swing phase of gait is important to balance the foot in the frontal plane. The activation of that muscle should be included in rehabilitation programs.” (1)

here is the video again.

Have a burning desire to learn more about forefoot varus, here are 25 blog post links from our last few years. And/or you can take our National Shoe Fit program (downloadable links below).

Knowing what you are seeing during your exam and gait analysis can only truly come from coupling your observations with a clinical exam.  Anything less is speculation and guess work.  It is gambling, and this is not Vegas baby, this is someone’s health.

Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys

________________

National Shoe Fit Certification Program:

Gait Guys online /download store (National Shoe Fit Certification and more !) :

http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.aspx?m=80204

1. Foot (Edinb). 2009 Jun;19(2):69-74. Epub 2008 Dec 31. Foot varus in stroke patients: muscular activity of extensor digitorum longus during the swing phase of gait.  Reynard F, Dériaz O, Bergeau J.

Other web based Gait Guys lectures:

www.onlinece.com   type in Dr. Waerlop or Dr. Allen,  ”Biomechanics”Reference

Podcast #19: Of Fish, Footstrike and Facts about Running

Podcast #19: Of Fish, Footstrike and Facts about Running

Permalink URL
http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/pod-19-fish-foot-strike-facts

itunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

Today’s Topics:

1. Neuroscience piece: Fish and limb buds and becoming bipedal.

Link: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/346972/description/News_in_brief_Fins_to_limbs_with_flip_of_genetic_switch

2. Joint Replacement: new research and updates

http://www.jospt.org/issues/articleID.2815,type.1/article_detail.asp

3. Footstrike 101: How Should Your Foot Hit The Ground?

http://running.competitor.com/2012/12/injuries/footstrike-101-how-should-your-foot-hit-the-ground_63548

Podcast #18: Treadmills, ‘Shrooms & Santa

If you do not split a gut laughing by the time the band plays there is something wrong with you ! Who says gait stuff isn’t entertaining !
Perhaps our best podcast to date ? You decide.

Permalink URL
http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/pod-18-treadmills-shrooms-santa

itunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

Topics: Treadmills, neuroreceptors, foot types, hip biomechanixcs, gait cycle

Neuroscience piece link:

http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/3136.html

1. from Eric on our FB page:

a. Had a 9yr old girl for a shoe fitting recently. She had a forefoot valgus, with a rearfoot that is neutral or slightly varus. Fairly high arch and rigid Midfoot for a child that age as well. usually a child’s foot is super flexible so this makes me wonder if it’s a compensation for a true FF varus. How do I tell if he has an anatomic FF valgus vs a compensated version?

b. I asked Blaise Dubois his opinion on Treadmill vs outdoor running and he mentioned that the literature indicates TM’s aren’t much different than outdoor. He cites (Wank 1998). To me, running feels completely different and I can’t run nearly as efficiently on a TM as outdoor. i know some people are the opposite, which i subscribe to specificity of training.

the question i have is what basis do you use for your opinion on different motor patterns? i agree with you, but the literature seems to disagree. this is a piece from cybex so of course it will be “pro-treadmill”, but they quote several studies that concur with Wank… http://media.cybexintl.com/cybexinstitute/research/Truth_on_Fit_Apr10.pdf

hope i’m not sending too many questions. i figure you can ignore them if you have too many from other listeners.

http://media.cybexintl.com/cybexinstitute/research/Truth_on_Fit_Apr10.pdf
media.cybexintl.com
2. On the Hip Bio Pt 6 you mention ext rot leg to gain leg length.  This one has been racking my brain.  I could see how this could happen if the person supinates the foot at the same time, but is there some other external rotating mechanism occurring in the hip that would cause this lengthening?  Thanks,Ryan

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Hi Gait Guys,

I am a chiropractor in South Africa, and find gait, biomechanics and running fascinating…I’m hoping to become a true gait geek one day.Reading your blog has taught me so much, you guys seem to look at gait from every angle and don’t take things at face value.

I would like to find out about your Shoe Fit Certification Program. Can people from outside the USA complete the course? Would I be able to take the exam online? and would it give me any creditation in South Africa

 Hope to hear from you soon.

 Regards, Claire

3. I have been watching your video’s on you tube.  I have a cavus foot in which I have had severe nerve pain, why is the high arch caused by nerve pain?

And would any of your exercises help with my nerve pain

Thanks,Wendy

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4. Hi guys,
Found your youtube channel. Very interesting stuff. Have started reading up on the whole gait cycle. Its very interesting.
I have a quick question that I hope that you can help me with:
Are you aware of any correlation of hip impingement (cam/pincer) in terms of having an irregular gait cycle?
I am suffering from both CAM & PINCER impingement in my right hip. Had surgery in January, but they did not shave sufficiently off the bone, so going back to surgery soon.
I am therefore interested in seeing how surgery possible could help me with bettering my walk and strain on my lower back / leg / foot. And also in terms of looking into some theory on how to retrain myself in walking cycles.
The problem is, that this kind of rehab/research is not available here in Denmark. So would appreciate if you are aware of any research on the above, and would be able to point me in the direction of that.
Thank you – and keep those great videos coming. 🙂
Best,
Terje (Denmark)

The Great Myth of Rotating your Shoes : Here are the Actual Facts as we see them.

Everyone has heard the rules, rotate into new shoes about every 400-500 miles.  We disagree, kind of, and we have talked about it on previous blog posts in the past and on our podcasts.  Many shoe reps have agreed with the methods we employ for our runners.

The EVA foam often used in shoe manufacturing has a lifespan, or better put, a given number of compression and shear cycles. It can go through a rather fixed number of compression cycles before it loses its original structural properties, the older the foam gets the faster the degradation process and the more risks it poses for runners.  It is known that EVA foam compressed into a focal vector or area over and over again becomes softer and more giving into that vector/area over time.  Hence, if you have a compensation pattern or a known foot type (forefoot varus, forefoot valgus, rearfoot varus, rearfoot valgus or a combination of these 4) you will break down a certain region or zone of the shoe’s EVA foam. For example a forefoot varus foot type will often drive some heavy focal compression into the foam under the first metatarsal. However, if you combine it with a rear foot valgus it will drive shear forces and compression into the  EVA foam along the entire medial aspect of the shoe (see the 2 pictures attached, you can see the evidence of excessive medial compression and medial shear in a foot that has severe rearfoot valgus and forefoot varus. This is a very poor shoe prescription for the foot type involved).

Here is what you need to do / know:

1- Know your athletes foot type so you can make more informed decisions.

2- Know the type of foam of the shoes you are recommending (ie. Altra uses A-Bound foam instead of EVA just as an example. A-Bound is an environmentally friendly energy-return compound is made of recycled materials. It reduces the impact of hard surfaces while still maintaining ground feedback. Traditional running shoe foam compresses 70-90% while A-Bound™ compresses 2-3x less so it won’t deform over time.).  Cheap shoes use cheap materials.  Altra goes the extra mile for foam quality and many others are beginning to follow suit. If you think you are getting a deal on shoes, know what “the deal” is, it just may be cheaper materials.

3-  500 miles is not the rule for everyone and every shoe.  If you have a relatively neutral forefoot and you are a forefoot or midfoot strike runner you will get far more miles out of a shoe.  If you depend on a stability shoe with dual densities of foam to slow your pronation and control your medial foot because of a rearfoot valgus and/or forefoot varus know that the shoe’s foam will break down less uniformly because of foam interface junctions and whatnot.  This is a science. Engineers call it “the mechanics of material deformation”.  We wonder how many mechanical engineers shoe companies have on board in their R&D divisions ?  We know for a fact that a few do not. There was a reason we snuck quietly into the mechanical engineering departments of our Alma Mater and sat quietly in the “Materials” classes. At the time our roommates just told us it was  cool class, little did we know why it was so interesting to us, until now.

4- Here is what we recommend. Fit the foot type to the right shoe selection. If you are weak in this territory consider taking our intense “National Shoe Fit” program. Fit is everything. Make the wrong choice for your client and the shoes will break down quicker and into poor and risky patterns. Make the right choice and be their hero. If you are looking for a way to improve clientele happiness and store loyalty our Shoe Fit Program is the way. Just read the testimonials here on our blog. Some of the top stores in the Nation have quietly taken the National Shoe Fit Program from us, they have good reason to. They also have good reason to keep it quiet, to get the edge on the competition.

You can email us to get this information and the e-file program download. Why not certify your entire store staff ?

Email us at   thegaitguys@gmail.com.  This program will teach you foot anatomy, functional anatomy, shoe anatomy, foot types and matching foot type to shoe type as well as many other aspects of gait and lower limb biomechanics.

* 5- Try this recommendation.  At 250 miles buy a new shoe to accompany your shoe that already has 250 miles. Now you are rotating 2 shoes. From this 250 mile point moving forward, alternate the newer show with the older shoe. This way you are never in a shoe that is notably more deformed in a specific area of the EVA foam because of your compensations, limitations or foot type. Essentially you are always just a day away from a newer shoe that has less driving force into abnormally compressed EVA foam.  The older the shoe gets the more it accelerates your foot and body into that deformation and hence why many injuries occur as their shoes get older. Continue to alternate shoes on every other run (new, old, new, old).  Once you hit 400-500 miles on the old shoes, ditch them and get a new pair again to restore the cycle once again.  In fact, to be specific here is what we recommend. Monday, old shoe. Tuesday, new shoe. Wednesday do not run, rather, rest or cross train. Thursday go back to the older shoe. Friday new shoe and repeat. This way you are 4 days between runs in the older more deformed shoe. The one day off running in mid week gives tissues that were challenged by the “old shoe run” a bit more time to repair.

6- Dedicate your shoes to running only. Running gait is not the same as walking gait. Why would you want to break down the EVA foam at the rear foot during walking (because heel strike is normal in walking) when in running you are a mid-forefoot striker ?  Keep walking shoes for walking, running shoes for running. Otherwise you are just asking for trouble.

Check out our National Shoe Fit program and certification process here as well as links to our other teaching DVD’s & e-downloads:
 http://store.payloadz.com/results/results.asp?m=80204

Shawn and Ivo. Helping you use your head (and shoe knowledge) better everyday.
The Gait Guys  (have you checked out our RebelMouse page ? https://www.rebelmouse.com/TheGaitGuys/

Keeping up with our awesome informative podcasts ? It is all free stuff ! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

How about our youtube channel ? http://www.youtube.com/user/thegaitguys

How about our Facebook PAGE ?  https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gait-Guys/169366033103080

Podcast #17: Gait and Magic (and much more !)

Podcast Link:

http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-17-magic-gait

iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138

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Gait, Magic, Evolution, Foot Types, Stretching, Cases studies…… we have it all on today’s podcast.

Show Links
“How does the brain work ?”
 Nova Science Now
www.video.pbs.org   

buy this NOVA program now ! Educate the world ! :
http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=11095035&utm_source=PBS&utm_medium=Link&utm_content=nosn_nova6215_howbrainworks_covebuyit&utm_campaign=cove_buyit

Other links for today’s show:

http://www.medlink.com/medlinkcontent.asp

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12763089

http://www.ajronline.org/content/184/3/953.full

1. Hi Guys,
I was wondering if you could direct me to a podcast/video or elaborate on how a fast stretch can relax a hypertonic muscle in a practical setting. Can manual stretching techniques like MET be use by altering the technique with a short fast stretch or are you just referring to high velocity low amplitude manipulation? We are often taught to find the barrier apply contraction and then ‘gently’ go to the next barrier. Is this still a good way of activating the GTO’s?Also do you have any further discussion I can check out on GTO’s?

Thanks for your time, Adrian

2. Hello, GAIT Guys!

First I want to thank you for your phenomenal work!
I work alot with athletes and there are so many that have some sort of sole into their shoes. Problem was, pretty much everyone, didn’t get the answer to WHY they needed them. Just the normal “your foot pronates” and frankly, 1 out of 40 got better.
I was driven by the question WHY, searched around in Sweden, attending lectures, orthophaedic clinics etc, but I didn’t get the answers that I was looking for.
Started to look into it deeper for myself, when I found you guys!
Now I want to bring back that knowledge to Sweden, cause frankly.. WE NEED IT!
Can you tell me more about your certification? Is it possible for a Swe to attend and get the certification?
Best Regards
Gabriel
Dr. of Naprapathy from Sweden

3. Hello Drs. Waerlop and Allen. I need some clarification on gait biomechanics. Will using a more “minimalist” running shoe or a shoe with less RF to FF delta help peroneous longus to gain mechanical advantage? If someone has a forefoot varus would recommending a lower ramp shoe be appropriate to help “retrain” the tripod at stance phase? 
John F

4. Another blog question…ivo said in podcast #15 that most people have a forefoot abnormality (during section talking about flares). Any idea Why? Is it skewed toward one way or the other?
After looking at quite a few feet since becoming shoe fit certified, I’ve noticed quite a lot of variation. If I was pressed if say I’ve seem <10% FF valgus and maybe half of the rest each neutral and varus. Is that in the ballpark of what you guys see?
How about rear foot? I feel like I see a lot of rear foot varus but maybe my frame of reference is not accurate? If I was pressed, I’d say 70% varus, 29% neutral, 1% valgus. Does that seem off?
Thanks, Eric J

Category
Educational

Foot Types and Shoe Selection, anyone?

Join Dr Allen in this excerpt from the National Shoe Fit Certification Program. Need to know more about foot types? Consider taking the program. Want to take it a step further? Get Certified!

email us at: thegaitguys@gmail.com for more details.