B8: Ergonomics & Human Factors


Heow Pueh Lee1, Saurabh Garg1, Joo Cheng Nicolette Chhua2, Lian Kheng Frederick Tey2

1National University of Singapore, Singapore;
2DSO National Laboratories, Singapore

Flexible flatfoot and high-arch foot are the two most common pathomechanical foot deformities. A flexible flat foot occurs when the medial longitudinal arch (MLA) of the foot is under-developed and collapses when standing leading to complete or near complete contact with the ground. High-arch foot occurs when MLA is overdeveloped leading to a higher arch than usual. High-arch foot is much less common than flatfoot and is more likely to be associated with an abnormal orthopedic or neurological condition. Unlike flexible flat-foot, high-arch is typically painful because reduced contact area with the ground increases pressure on the heel and toes making it difficult to wear shoes. Characterizing foot arch is therefore important for the design and construction of shoes, in particular the design of combat boots due to their more severe external loadings and shocks. 

The main objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of flat-foot and high-arch in Singapore population. We used the arch index and the Clarke angle to characterize MLA of 480 male and 480 female subjects. All of them are between the age of 16 and 30. We found that more females have higharch compared to men while more men have flat-foot compared to women. We also discovered that arch height decreases with age irrespective of gender. 

The secondary objective of this study was to determine if there is any relation of MLA with parameters such as weight, height, BMI, foot length, or foot width. We did not find any linear correlation between any of these parameters and the arch index or Clarke angle. In particular, there is no correlation between BMI and flat-foot or high-arch for Singapore population as has been reported by many previous studies for different populations.

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