Regional plantar pressure during walking, stair ascent and descent

Smita Rao, Sylvester Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regional plantar pressures during stair walking may be injurious in at risk populations. However, limited data are available examining the reliability of plantar pressure data collected during stair walking. The aims of this study were three fold; to assess the reliability of the plantar pressure data recorded during stair walking, to assess the effects of level ground and stair walking on plantar loading, and to develop regression equations to predict regional plantar pressures in stair walking from those collected on level ground. Fifteen subjects without conditions affecting their ability to walk on level surfaces or stairs were recruited. Each participant performed at least 10 steps in level ground and stair walking while plantar pressure data were recorded in six foot regions. Reliability was assessed using Intraclass Correlation Coefficient. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to assess the effect of activity on plantar pressure, and a linear regression was used to predict forefoot loading during stair walking. A reliability of 0.9 was achieved within 10 steps in all foot regions, with the forefoot requiring fewer steps. Plantar pressures were influenced by both, foot region and activity, with the heel and forefoot regions generally experiencing lower peak pressures and maximal forces during stair walking than level ground walking. The regression equations predicting peak pressure during stair walking accounted for between 37% and 70% of the variance of the stair walking data. These findings establish the reliability of plantar pressure data collected during stair walking. Future studies should investigate these parameters in clinical populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Peak-pressure
  • Regional-pressure
  • Reliability
  • Stair-walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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