Plantar tactile sensory thresholds in healthy men and women

Thomas G. McPoil, Mark W. Cornwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine tactile sensory threshold levels on the plantar surface of the feet in healthy subjects as well as assessing if differences existed based on gender or between extremities. Method: Forty subjects, 20 men and 20 women, consented to participate in the study. Tactile sensory thresholds were determined over the heel, lateral midfoot, medial midfoot, lateral forefoot, medial forefoot, and hallux on the plantar surface of the foot using Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments. A multiple-step algorithm was used for testing and the subject determined the tactile threshold for a region verbally. Results: The results indicate that plantar tactile sensation does not differ between the left and right feet, but differences do exist between men and women in all regions except the hallux. The heel region tactile threshold was found to be significantly higher than all other regions. The mean tactile sensitivity for both the right and left feet was the 3.61 monofilament. Conclusions: This is one of few investigations that have attempted to assess plantar sensory thresholds in a healthy group of men and women. The findings of this study may prove useful for further investigation into the assessment of the effect of foot orthoses and insoles on the cutaneous tactile sensory system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-197
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Plantar surface
  • Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments
  • Tactile sensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Podiatry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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