Wedging is the most common form of conservative treatment for a lower limb injury because it is simple, inexpensive, and noninvasive.
This study sought to evaluate the immediate effects of lateral and medial wedges on knee and ankle internal joint loading and centre of pressure (CoP) in men during walking.
Twenty-one healthy men were recruited for this study.
A standardised neutral shoe was chosen as the neutral control shoe that was compared against four different wedged conditions: a 6 degree lateral wedge (LW6), a 9 degree lateral wedge (LW9), a 6 degree medial wedge (MW6), and a 9 degree medial wedge (MW9).
Three retroreflective markers were secured to the right shank and right foot (shoe) of each participant.
In addition, anatomical markers were attached to the femoral epicondyles and the lateral and medial malleoli to determine the joint centres during a standing anatomical calibration trial.
The participants had to perform at least five valid trials in each of the five footwear conditions.
A valid trial was one in which the individual landed with the right foot near the middle of the force platform.
Peak internal knee abduction moments and angular impulses, internal ankle inversion moments and angular impulses, and mediolateral CoP were analysed.
The first peak internal knee abduction moment was defined as the maximum value during the first half of the stance phase.
The internal ankle inversion moment and mediolateral CoP position were obtained at the time the first peak internal knee abduction moment occurred.
Neither lateral nor medial wedges were found to be effective in altering internal knee frontal plane moments and impulses when compared with a neutral condition in healthy men during walking.
With an increase in lateral wedges, there was observed to be an increase in internal ankle joint loading during walking.
This implies a higher risk of ankle injuries with lateral wedges, which is why these wedges need to be prescribed with caution.
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