A dynamic finite element analysis of human foot complex in the sagittal plane during level walking

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The objective of this study is to develop a computational framework for investigating the dynamic behavior and the internal loading conditions of the human foot complex during locomotion. A subject-specific dynamic finite element model in the sagittal plane was constructed based on anatomical structures segmented from medical CT scan images. Three-dimensional gait measurements were conducted to support and validate the model. Ankle joint forces and moment derived from gait measurements were used to drive the model. Explicit finite element simulations were conducted, covering the entire stance phase from heel-strike impact to toe-off. The predicted ground reaction forces, center of pressure, foot bone motions and plantar surface pressure showed reasonably good agreement with the gait measurement data over most of the stance phase. The prediction discrepancies can be explained by the assumptions and limitations of the model. Our analysis showed that a dynamic FE simulation can improve the prediction accuracy in the peak plantar pressures at some parts of the foot complex by 10%-33% compared to a quasi-static FE simulation. However, to simplify the costly explicit FE simulation, the proposed model is confined only to the sagittal plane and has a simplified representation of foot structure. The dynamic finite element foot model proposed in this study would provide a useful tool for future extension to a fully muscle-driven dynamic three-dimensional model with detailed representation of all major anatomical structures, in order to investigate the structural dynamics of the human foot musculoskeletal system during normal or even pathological functioning. © 2013 Qian et al.




Qian, Z., Ren, L., Ding, Y., Hutchinson, J. R., & Ren, L. (2013). A dynamic finite element analysis of human foot complex in the sagittal plane during level walking. PLoS ONE, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079424

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