An innovative ultrasound foot scanner system for measuring the change in biomechanical properties of plantar tissue from sitting to standing

Thomas Ka Wai Ng, Yongping Zheng, Rachel Lai Chu Kwan, Lai Ying Gladys Cheing

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated the reliability of an innovative ultrasound foot scanner system in assessing the thickness and stiffness of plantar soft tissue and the comparison of stiffness and thickness in sitting and standing. Fifteen young healthy individuals were examined. The target sites on the foot sole for investigation included the heel pad, the fifth metatarsal head, the second metatarsal head, the first metatarsal head, and the pulp of the hallux. The test (day 1) and retest (day 2) were performed 1 week apart at the exact time with humidity and temperature of the assessment room under control. The thickness and stiffness of the plantar soft tissue obtained in sitting and standing positions on day 1 were used for comparison. The results showed significant test-retest reliability [intraclass correlation coefficient(3,2)>0.90, P<0.001] at all five sites in both sitting and standing positions. When changing from sitting to standing, the plantar soft tissue became significantly thinner (with decrease ranging from 10 to 14% at various sites) and stiffer (with increase ranging from 123 to 164% at various sites, all P<0.05). The present innovative system is a reliable device for the measurement of the thickness and stiffness of plantar soft tissue in either the sitting or the standing position. The change in positions from sitting to standing resulted in a significant thinning and stiffening of plantar soft tissues. This system could be a potential clinical device to monitor the biomechanical properties of plantar tissue in the elderly or in patients with diseases such as diabetes to estimate the risk of developing foot ulcer or other foot complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Connective tissue
  • foot
  • scan
  • stiffness
  • thickness
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

Cite this