Are There Really Two Foot Types? Linear and Angular Measurements of the Foot of Modern Humans

Linear and Angular Measurements of the Fo… [Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2013] – PubMed – NCBI


Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.


In his classic research, Morton established two functionally different configurations of the bipedal and non-bipedal primate foot: one optimized for stability, with a stiff longitudinal arch and adducted first metatarsal, and the other for compliance. Modern human feet were seen as conforming to the bipedal norm and variation from it as pathology, even though clinical evidence has been clear that variation from the norm of a stiff longitudinal arch or adducted first metatarsal exists. This study aims to document the variation in linear and angular measurements of the foot, using weight-bearing radiographs of 50 randomly selected people (25 men) from an urban US Level 1 trauma center. The radiographs were obtained to “rule-out” a foot fracture after trauma or as comparison films for a contralateral foot injury. Measurements were made using Osirix and correlations among the angular and length measurements were determined using Stata with P < 0.05 and Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. We found that foot length was not correlated with angular measurements, except for the angle between the first and fifth metatarsal. People with lower medial longitudinal arches also had more abducted first metatarsals and more vertical posterior facets, in accordance with Morton's foot types. Whether or not this variation in modern humans is linked to functionally important consequences remains to be determined in future research. With the new evidence of a more variable foot structure in fossil hominins, understanding the relationship between foot morphology and function becomes more urgent. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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