Objective . Previous research has shown that obese children have thicker plantar fat pads compared to non-obese children. As it is uncertain how this thickness infl uences dynamic foot function, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between dynamic plantar pressures generated beneath the feet of school-aged children and their medial midfoot fat pad thickness measures. Methods and procedures . Height and weight were measured, and BMI calculated, for 252 children aged 6.0 – 9.9 y (mean SD 8.1 1.0 y, 112 boys). Medial midfoot plantar fat pad thickness was quantifi ed using ultrasonography
and dynamic plantar pressure distributions were measured using a pressure platform. Data were correlated to establish the strength of the relationships among BMI, plantar fat pad thickness and medial midfoot plantar pressures.
Results . Both medial midfoot plantar fat pad thickness and medial midfoot plantar pressure were signifi cantly correlated with BMI ( r 0.401, P 0.001 and r 0.465, P 0.001, respectively). Although medial midfoot plantar pressure significantly correlated with midfoot plantar fat pad thickness during non-weight bearing ( r 0.294, P 0.001) and weight bearing ( r 0.289, P 0.001), the strength of the relationships was low. Conclusion . Additional medial midfoot fat padding in obese school-aged children appears to refl ect their excess body mass rather than an adaptation to cushion pressures
associated with this increased body mass. Further investigation is required to identify probable short- and long-term functional limitations resulting from increased pressures generated beneath the feet of obese children when walking.
Key words: Body mass index (BMI) , foot function , fat pad , plantar pressure , children