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Salient features of the Maasai foot: analysis of 1,096 Maasai subjects.

Choi JY, Suh JS, Seo L - Clin Orthop Surg (2014)

Bottom Line: Although they walk long distances of up to sixty kilometers a day, they do not suffer from any foot ailments.Dynamic footprints showed even pressure patterns throughout the forefoot (64.87%), followed by lateral forefoot pressure concentration patterns (21.81%).Our study shows the distinct parameters that provide more insight into the Maasai foot.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mount Meru Regional Hospital, Arusha, Tanzania.

ABSTRACT

Background: The Maasai are the most widely known African ethnic group located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Most spend their days either barefoot or in their traditional shoes made of car tires. Although they walk long distances of up to sixty kilometers a day, they do not suffer from any foot ailments. Little is known about their foot structure and gait. The goal of this investigation was to characterize various aspects of Maasai foot in standing and walking.

Methods: Foot length, calf circumference, hindfoot alignment, step length, cadence, and walking velocity were obtained from 1,096 adult Maasai people (545 males and 551 females; mean age, 40.28 ± 14.69 years; age range, 16 to 65 years). All included subjects were from rural areas, where the primary terrain was sandy soil, who spend most of their lifetime barefoot, walking. They all denied any medical history or previous symptoms related to foot problems. A trained clinician scanned all feet for deformities. Static (standing) and dynamic (walking) Harris mat footprints were taken to determine the distribution of forefoot pressure patterns during walking.

Results: The average foot length was 250.14 ± 18.12 mm (range, 210 to 295 mm) and calf circumference was 32.50 ± 3.22 cm (range, 25 to 41 cm). The mean hindfoot alignment was 6.21° ± 1.55° of valgus. Sixty-four subjects (5.84%) had bilateral flat-shaped feet with a low medial longitudinal arch that exactly matched the broad pattern of their static footprints. Step length, cadence, and walking velocity were 426.45 ± 88.73 cm (range, 200 to 690 cm), 94.35 steps/min (range, 72 to 111 steps/min), and 40.16 ± 8.36 m/min (range, 18.20 to 63.36 m/min), respectively. A total of 83.39% subjects showed unilateral or bilateral deformities of multiple toes regardless of age. The most frequent deformity was clawing (98.79%) of which the highest incidence occurred with the fifth toe (93.23%). Dynamic footprints showed even pressure patterns throughout the forefoot (64.87%), followed by lateral forefoot pressure concentration patterns (21.81%).

Conclusions: Our study shows the distinct parameters that provide more insight into the Maasai foot.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Frequency distribution of claw toes in the Maasai population.
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Figure 3: Frequency distribution of claw toes in the Maasai population.

Mentions: A total of 746 subjects (68.06%) showed a deformity of one or more toes bilaterally and 168 subjects (15.33%) on a unilateral foot, regardless of gender and age. Frequencies of each deformity regarding the age groups are summarized in Table 4. Groups 1 and 2 showed no significant difference, while there was a significant increasing tendency throughout the other groups. Among them, claw toe deformity occurred most frequently (98.79%), followed by mallet toe deformity (1.69%). Only four subjects (0.48%) showed both claw and mallet toe deformities in different toes of the same foot. Frequencies of each toe for multiple claw and mallet toe deformity are shown in Figs. 3 and 4. The fifth and third toes had the most frequent claw and mallet deformities. Additionally, 42.26% of claw toe deformities were accompanied by a soft corn lesion on the prominent surface (Fig. 5). Frequencies of a soft corn lesion of each toe for claw and mallet toe deformities are listed in Table 5. Claw toe deformities occurred most frequently in the fifth PIP joint (62.34%), followed by the fourth PIP (18.47%), second PIP (7.99%), and third PIP (5.63%). Mallet toe deformities had accompanying soft corn lesions as well, 21.43% showed a soft corn lesion on the fourth DIP joint and 14.29% on the third DIP joint. No subjects showed gross valgus or varus deformity of the great toe, while two subjects showed a slightly valgus deformity (< 10°) on the PIP joint of second toe bilaterally.


Salient features of the Maasai foot: analysis of 1,096 Maasai subjects.

Choi JY, Suh JS, Seo L - Clin Orthop Surg (2014)

Frequency distribution of claw toes in the Maasai population.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4233220&req=5

Figure 3: Frequency distribution of claw toes in the Maasai population.
Mentions: A total of 746 subjects (68.06%) showed a deformity of one or more toes bilaterally and 168 subjects (15.33%) on a unilateral foot, regardless of gender and age. Frequencies of each deformity regarding the age groups are summarized in Table 4. Groups 1 and 2 showed no significant difference, while there was a significant increasing tendency throughout the other groups. Among them, claw toe deformity occurred most frequently (98.79%), followed by mallet toe deformity (1.69%). Only four subjects (0.48%) showed both claw and mallet toe deformities in different toes of the same foot. Frequencies of each toe for multiple claw and mallet toe deformity are shown in Figs. 3 and 4. The fifth and third toes had the most frequent claw and mallet deformities. Additionally, 42.26% of claw toe deformities were accompanied by a soft corn lesion on the prominent surface (Fig. 5). Frequencies of a soft corn lesion of each toe for claw and mallet toe deformities are listed in Table 5. Claw toe deformities occurred most frequently in the fifth PIP joint (62.34%), followed by the fourth PIP (18.47%), second PIP (7.99%), and third PIP (5.63%). Mallet toe deformities had accompanying soft corn lesions as well, 21.43% showed a soft corn lesion on the fourth DIP joint and 14.29% on the third DIP joint. No subjects showed gross valgus or varus deformity of the great toe, while two subjects showed a slightly valgus deformity (< 10°) on the PIP joint of second toe bilaterally.

Bottom Line: Although they walk long distances of up to sixty kilometers a day, they do not suffer from any foot ailments.Dynamic footprints showed even pressure patterns throughout the forefoot (64.87%), followed by lateral forefoot pressure concentration patterns (21.81%).Our study shows the distinct parameters that provide more insight into the Maasai foot.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mount Meru Regional Hospital, Arusha, Tanzania.

ABSTRACT

Background: The Maasai are the most widely known African ethnic group located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Most spend their days either barefoot or in their traditional shoes made of car tires. Although they walk long distances of up to sixty kilometers a day, they do not suffer from any foot ailments. Little is known about their foot structure and gait. The goal of this investigation was to characterize various aspects of Maasai foot in standing and walking.

Methods: Foot length, calf circumference, hindfoot alignment, step length, cadence, and walking velocity were obtained from 1,096 adult Maasai people (545 males and 551 females; mean age, 40.28 ± 14.69 years; age range, 16 to 65 years). All included subjects were from rural areas, where the primary terrain was sandy soil, who spend most of their lifetime barefoot, walking. They all denied any medical history or previous symptoms related to foot problems. A trained clinician scanned all feet for deformities. Static (standing) and dynamic (walking) Harris mat footprints were taken to determine the distribution of forefoot pressure patterns during walking.

Results: The average foot length was 250.14 ± 18.12 mm (range, 210 to 295 mm) and calf circumference was 32.50 ± 3.22 cm (range, 25 to 41 cm). The mean hindfoot alignment was 6.21° ± 1.55° of valgus. Sixty-four subjects (5.84%) had bilateral flat-shaped feet with a low medial longitudinal arch that exactly matched the broad pattern of their static footprints. Step length, cadence, and walking velocity were 426.45 ± 88.73 cm (range, 200 to 690 cm), 94.35 steps/min (range, 72 to 111 steps/min), and 40.16 ± 8.36 m/min (range, 18.20 to 63.36 m/min), respectively. A total of 83.39% subjects showed unilateral or bilateral deformities of multiple toes regardless of age. The most frequent deformity was clawing (98.79%) of which the highest incidence occurred with the fifth toe (93.23%). Dynamic footprints showed even pressure patterns throughout the forefoot (64.87%), followed by lateral forefoot pressure concentration patterns (21.81%).

Conclusions: Our study shows the distinct parameters that provide more insight into the Maasai foot.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus