Plantar pressures in identical and non-identical twins

Telfer S, Bigham JJ, Sudduth ASM.

Identifying environmental risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders is challenging due to the number of potential confounders. Twins are of particular interest for researchers interested in studying these types of problems due to their inherent control for the influence of genetic factors. In twin studies, this population can allow environmental risk factors to be more easily identified, and this type of study design may allow the role of biomechanics in injury and disease to be further explored. At present, it is unclear if foot function displays more similarity between certain types of twins. In this study, we hypothesized that the plantar pressures of monozygotic (identical) twins would be more similar between pairs than dizygotic (non-identical) twins. We measured static and dynamic plantar pressures from five pairs of each twin type. Statistical parametric modeling was used to compare pressure distributions at the sensor level. For >80% of stance phase, the pixel level analysis indicated that monozygotic twins had less variation in plantar pressure between pairs. The average z-statistic across the entire trial was 0.88 for the monozygotic group and 1.13 for the dizygotic group. In this study we provide evidence of greater similarity of plantar pressures in monozygotic twin pairs compared to dizygotic twins. This finding supports the use of co-twin studies investigating potentially modifiable environmental and biomechanical risk factors for musculoskeletal conditions that affect the foot and ankle.

Plantar pressures in identical and non-identical twins. J Biomech. 2019 Mar 27;86:247-250.