Novel EMED SF Platform
The EMED Platform is a multiple sensor fixed platform the is located flush within our walkway. It contains approximately 2000 sensors in an array to determine the local loading on the foot during gait. There are 2 sensors/cm2 and the recording rate of all sensors is 70 times per second (Hz). Pressure measures are different than force platform measurements since the platform has many sensors determining vertical load. Thus, the local loading on the heel or the great toe can be determined from the measurement. Since the sensors are in an array, by software, one could compare the loading variables associated with one region of the foot compared to the next.
To the right is a barefoot measurement with the platform. The resulting picture is called the maximum pressure picture (MPP). This is an "artificial" picture which depicts the maximum loads during the stance phase of the gait cycle. The colors reflect the amount of pressure at the interface with the hotter colors (pink and red) being greater pressure than the cooler colors (black and blue). The highest load is depicted in pink and the lowest load is in black.
Below is a pressure mountain of the same maximum pressure picture (MPP). This is just another way to view the maximum loads during gait. Note the high pressures on the lateral side of the foot. This high pressure occurred late in the stance phase of the gait cycle.
Clinical and Research Uses of Platform
Barefoot plantar loading is useful in the analysis of gait post surgically and after rehabilitation. Currently, we are using this to analyze the loading patterns after surgery for hallux valgus (bunion correction). The local loading on specific areas of the foot are being monitored to assess surgical outcome.
Probably, the greatest success in monitoring plantar loading patterns is with the neuropathic diabetic. The neuropathic diabetic has lost sensation in the lower extremity and foot. High plantar pressures coupled with the mechanical trauma associated with walking have been proven to be one of the risk factors in the development of pressure ulcers. Plantar loading measurements along with typical clinical measures can provide useful information on the patient "at risk" of wound development.