Flatfoot or not: subjective perception of the height of the feet arch among orthopedists

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Background. The visual assessment of flatfoot is the most commonly used method by pediatric orthopedists. It is necessary to confirm good consistency among specialists to justify its use as a standard. Aim. The aim of this study was to determine the consistency of visual assessment of flatfoot among orthopedists. Materials and methods. The first stage of this study included 187 primary school-aged children. The main methods used were clinical examination and computer plantography. Then, 130 images of the right foot were randomly selected in standard projections — medial and posterior, which were provided to 32 orthopedists (ten of whom were experts). Specialists needed to note whether the foot presented for analysis was flat. We used the w-Kendall concordance coefficient and τ-Kendall correlation coefficient to determine the inter-rater reliability. After five months, the intra-rater reliability was determined, and the Cohen coefficient was calculated. Results. Our study demonstrated that the inter-rater reliability varied significantly depending on whether the orthopedist specialized in foot pathology. When calculating the concordance coefficient, an increase in the consistency among experts was noted after five months (0.58 and 0.76, respectively), compared with orthopedists who do not specialize in foot pathology. Although some heterogeneity was noted according to experts on the same foot, the overall correlation coefficient corresponded to a good and excellent level of consistency (0.65–0.84). Cohen’s coefficient among specialists corresponded to a good level of confidence (0.72), whereas among orthopedists who do not specialize in foot pathology, there was a low level of confidence (0.31). According to experts, the frequency of flatfoot was 24.6%, whereas according to orthopedists who do not specialize in foot pathology, it was 40.9% when they evaluated images of the same feet. Conclusion. Experts’ answers regarding which foot should be considered flat demonstrated a good and excellent level of consistency. Therefore, they can be used to determine reference values of anthropometric parameters of the medial foot arch.

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About the authors

Alyona Ju. Dimitrieva

North-Western State Medical University named after I.I. Mechikov

Email: aloyna17@mail.ru
PhD Student of Chair of Traumatology and Orthopedics for Children 195015, St. Petersburg, Kirochnaya St., 41

Vladimir M. Kenis

The Turner Scientific Research Institute for Children’s Orthopedics

Email: kenis@mail.ru
MD, PhD, D.Sc., Professor, Deputy Director of Development and International Relations, Head of the Department of Foot Pathology, Neuroorthopedics and Systemic Diseases 64, Parkovaya str., Saint-Petersburg, Pushkin, 196603

Andrei V. Sapogovskiy

The Turner Scientific Research Institute for Children’s Orthopedics, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Email: sapogovskiy@gmail.com
MD, PhD, Senior Research Associate of the Department of Foot Pathology, Neuroorthopedics and Systemic Diseases 196603, St. Petersburg, Pushkin, Parkovaya st. 64-68

Yuriy Alekseevich Lapkin

Email: lapkin1950@mail.ru

Oleg Vsevolodovich Kozhevnikov

Email: 10otdcito@mail.ru


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Copyright (c) 2020 Dimitrieva A.J., Kenis V.M., Sapogovskiy A.V., Lapkin Y.A., Kozhevnikov O.V.

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