Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Biomechanical Engineering


Mechanical properties of the foot are responsible for its normal function and play a role in various clinical problems. Specifically, we are interested in quantification of foot mechanical properties to assist the development of computational models for movement analysis and detailed simulations of tissue deformation. Current available data are specific to a foot region and the loading scenarios are limited to a single direction. A data set that incorporates regional response, to quantify individual function of foot components, as well as the overall response, to illustrate their combined operation, does not exist. Furthermore, the combined three-dimensional loading scenarios while measuring the complete three-dimensional deformation response are lacking. When combined with an anatomical image data set, development of anatomically realistic and mechanically validated models becomes possible. Therefore, the goal of this study was to record and disseminate the mechanical response of a foot specimen, supported by imaging data. Robotic testing was conducted at the rear foot, forefoot, metatarsal heads, and the foot as a whole. Complex foot deformations were induced by single mode loading, e.g., compression, and combined loading, e.g., compression and shear. Small and large indenters were used for heel and metatarsal head loading, an elevated platform was utilized to isolate the rear foot and forefoot, and a full platform compressed the whole foot. Three-dimensional tool movements and reaction loads were recorded simultaneously. Computed tomography scans of the same specimen were collected for anatomical reconstruction a priori. The three-dimensional mechanical response of the specimen was nonlinear and viscoelastic. A low stiffness region was observed starting with contact between the tool and foot regions, increasing with loading. Loading and unloading responses portrayed hysteresis. Loading range ensured capturing the toe and linear regions of the load deformation curves for the dominant loading direction, with the rates approximating those of walking. A large data set was successfully obtained to characterize the overall and the regional mechanical responses of an intact foot specimen under single and combined loads. Medical imaging complemented the mechanical testing data to establish the potential relationship between the anatomical architecture and mechanical responses and to further develop foot models that are mechanically realistic and anatomically consistent. This combined data set has been documented and disseminated in the public domain to promote future development in foot biomechanics.


The study was funded by the NIBIB, NIH Grant No. 5R01EB006735, in collaboration with Simbios, NIH Center for Biomedical Computation at Stanford University. The testing facility was partially supported by the NIAMS, NIH Core Center Grant No. 1P30AR050953.