A systematic review and meta-analysis of dynamic tests and related force plate parameters used to evaluate neuromusculoskeletal function in foot and ankle pathology

D.P. Fransz, A. Huurnink, I. Kingma, E.A.L.M. Verhagen, J.H. van Dieen

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Background Force plates are commonly used to register ground reaction forces in order to assess neuromusculoskeletal function of the ankle joint. There exists a great variety in dynamic tests on force plates and in parameters calculated from ground reaction forces in order to evaluate neuromusculoskeletal function of the ankle. The purpose of this study was to evaluate which dynamic tests and force plate parameters are most sensitive to differences between and within groups with regard to foot and ankle pathology. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed evaluating studies that compared force plate parameters of dynamic tests between patients with foot and ankle pathology, and healthy controls. Data were pooled per parameter and test category. Given the clinical heterogeneity, we constructed comprehensive recommendation criteria to indicate a 'proven relevant parameter' or 'candidate relevant parameter'. Results A total of 34 studies were included, and 58 relevant comparisons were identified. Results were subdivided by test category: walking, running, landing (in anteroposterior direction), sideways (movement in mediolateral direction) and termination (movement in anteroposterior direction). The 'walking' test showed significant differences in a great variety of pathologies, with the magnitude and timing of the 'second peak vertical force' as proven relevant parameters. The 'landing' test detected differences due to ankle instability, with 'time to stabilization in anteroposterior direction' as proven relevant parameter. Interpretation This study provides recommendations concerning the potential of various dynamic tests and force plate parameters as a tool to compare neuromusculoskeletal function between patients with foot and ankle pathology and healthy controls. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-601
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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