To test the hypothesis that variations in foot position would significantly affect standing balance, we studied ten normal subjects on a Kistler force platform which measured the travel and center of pressure displacement. With the feet together there was substantially more mediolateral (ML) travel than with the axes of the feet 15, 30 or 45 cm apart and the mean ML position of the center of pressure was displaced toward the right; there was no consistent effect on anteroposterior (AP) travel or position. As the right foot was placed 10 and 30 cm forward or back, the least amount of ML and AP travel occurred with the feet even or at 10 cm either direction; the mean AP and ML position moved toward the foot which was placed more posteriorly. Of the five foot angles ranging from toes-out 45 degrees to toes-in 45 degrees, the extent of ML and AP travel was lowest in the toes-out 25 degrees position and greatest in the toes-in 45 degrees position; the mean AP and ML position was farthest forward and to the right with toes-in 45 degrees. These findings have implications for the prosthetic replacement of the lower limbs, sports, ergonomics and postural sway studies.
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