Do Arch Height and Arch Stiffness Relate to Physical Performance in Adult Men?


      Foot arch plays an important role in bearing body weight, absorbing ground reaction forces and maintaining balance, and its structure and function are bound to have a profound effect on physical activities and sports. Arch height and arch stiffness are 2 factors that represent the structure and function of the arch. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the associations of arch height and arch stiffness with physical performance. A total of 56 men (aged 49.00 ± 7.95 years, mean body mass index [BMI] 26.80 ± 3.75 kg/m2) participated in this study. A 3-dimensional laser scanner was employed to obtain foot structure information of each participant, from which the arch height index (AHI) and arch stiffness index (ASI) were computed. Physical performance measures including agility, power, and proprioception were tested in a random order. The results indicated that the stepping forward and backward and vertical jump that represent agility and force respectively were negatively and significantly associated with AHI (r = -0.27, p = .045; r = -0.35, p = .009). When adjusted for age and BMI, only height of vertical jump was found to be correlated significantly with AHI (r = -0.29, p = .040); while no significant relationships were observed between physical performance measures and ASI. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that AHI, age, and BMI can effectively predict the height of vertical jump. This study demonstrates that there is a negative correlation between arch height and muscle power of lower limbs in adult men.

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