Review of Rothbart 2008. Vertical Facial Dimensions Linked to Abnormal Foot Motion. Journal American Podiatric Medical Association, 98 (3):01-08.

The most interesting study I’ve read this week was an old one conducted by Professor Brian Rothbart (Rothbart 2008). Professor Rothbart is well know for his understanding of the effects the feet can have on superior structures. On my reading of his work he tends to focus on ascending patterns but also writes on descending patterns. If you’re interested in these relationships I suggest you check out his website, which has an excellent array of articles.

In this study Rothbart examined the correlations between foot alignment and vertical face dimensions in 22 Mexican children. Patients were selected if they had a foot posture index greater than two, foot index posture asymmetry greater than two, asymmetry in posterior superior iliac spines and vertical face dimension asymmetry greater than 3mm. The study was assessing for a correlation between pronation, innominate position and changes in the positioning of the temporal bones, sphenoid and maxilla. Patients were assessed after 5 minutes in quiet standing. Foot pronation was graded using the foot position index. Hip position was determined using the positions of the posterior superior iliac spines in barefoot standing. Vertical face dimensions were measured by measuring the distance from the outer corner of the eye to the outer corner of the lip. There was a statistically significant correlation between foot pronation and ipsilateral anterior rotation of the pelvis, anterior rotation of the pelvis and ipsilateral loss of vertical face dimension, and loss of vertical face dimension and ipsilateral foot pronation. Rothbart explained these findings with an ascending model. However, these results could equally be attributed to a descending pattern illustartaing the effects alterations in the stomatognathic system can have on the pelvis and slave joints of the lower limb. These results weren’t evident in every patient but the selection criteria singled out those patients most likely to show the results. Thus these findings cannot be used to state a causal relationship.

The mechanical relationship between the temporal bone and sphenoid with the innominate and coccyx are explained in the Lovett brother reactor (Walther 2000). Further the axis of rotation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the third cervical vertebrae. The Lovett brother reactor suggests a torque from the TMJ on C3 will result in an ipsilateral response in L3. The Lovett brother reactor may be one way in which compensations and dysfunctions in the stomatognathic system can exert effect on other systems.





Rothbart BA 2008.  Vertical Facial Dimensions Linked to Abnormal Foot Motion. Journal American Podiatric Medical Association, 98 (3): 01-08.


Walther DS 2000. Applied Kinesiology, Synopsis 2nd edition. Systems: DC.

anterior innominate rotation, anterior pelvic tilt, loss of vertical face dimension, pronation, rothbart

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