Effects of flexible and rigid rocker profiles on in-shoe pressure

Roy Reints*, Juha M. Hijmans, Johannes G. M. Burgerhof, Klaas Postema, Gijsbertus J. Verkerke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Rocker profiles are commonly used in the prevention of diabetic foot ulcers. Rockers are mostly stiffened to restrict toe plantarflexion to ensure proper offloading. It is also described that toe dorsiflexion should be restricted. However, the difference in effect on plantar pressure between rigid rockers that restrict this motion and flexible rockers that do not is unknown. In-shoe plantar pressure data were collected for a control shoe and the same shoe with rigid and flexible rockers with the apex positioned at 50% and 60%. For 29 healthy female adults peak plantar pressure (PP), maximum mean pressure (MMP) and force-time integral (FTI) were determined for seven regions of the foot. Generalized estimate equation was used to analyse the effect of the different shoes on the outcome measures for these regions. Compared to the control shoe a significant increase of PP and FTI was found at the first toe for both rigid rockers and the flexible rocker with the apex positioned at 60%, while MMP was significantly increased in rockers with an apex position of 60% (p <0.001). PP at the first toe was significantly lower in flexible rockers when compared to rigid rockers (p <0.001). For both central and lateral forefoot PP and MMP were significantly more reduced in rigid rockers (p <0.001), while for the medial forefoot no differences were found. The use of rigid rockers results in larger reductions of forefoot plantar pressures, but in worse increase of plantar pressures at the first toe compared to rockers that allow toe dorsiflexion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalGait & Posture
Early online date12-Aug-2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2017


  • Rocker profiles
  • Flexibility
  • Diabetic foot
  • Plantar pressure
  • Ulcer prevention

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