Journal of Shanghai Jiaotong University (Science)

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 132–137 | Cite as

Effect of Skin on Finite Element Modeling of Foot and Ankle During Balanced Standing

  • Haihua Ou (欧海华)
  • Zeeshan Qaiser
  • Liping Kang (康利平)
  • Shane Johnson


Experimental measurements of stresses and strains for lower extremity injuries (LEI) are invasive, and therefore, predictions require physiologically accurate 3D finite element (FE) models of the foot and ankle. In previous models, skin is typically neglected. However, experimental studies have shown that skin is much stiffer than soft tissue. In this study, the material sensitivity of skin on foot arch deformation is investigated. A finite element model of the foot is developed, incorporating bones, soft tissue, ligament, articulating surfaces, plantar aponeurosis, skin and plantar plate. Balanced standing is simulated without skin or with three different skin mechanical properties. By including different skin models, the foot static vertical stiffness, navicular displacement and plantar aponeurosis strain change significantly, when compared with the model without skin. The study shows that skin, showing a much stiffer behaviour than soft tissue, should not be neglected in the foot modelling. Further, the plantar plate considered in this model can give merit to modelling injuries such as plantar plate tearing.

Key words

finite element analysis foot and ankle hyperelastic material plantar plate 

CLC number

Q 61 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The authors thanks to Dr. WANG Dongmei from Mechanical Engineering School in Shanghai Jiao Tong University for providing genuine advice and the geometry files of the developed finite element model.


  1. [1]
    BANDAK F A, TANNOUS R E, TORIDIS T. On the development of an osseo-ligamentous finite element model of the human ankle joint [J]. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 2001, 38(10-13): 1681–1697.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    CHEN W P, TANG F T, JU C W. Stress distribution of the foot during mid-stance to push-off in barefoot gait: a 3-D finite element analysis [J]. Clinical Biomechanics, 2001, 16(7): 614–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    GEFEN A. Stress analysis of the standing foot following surgical plantar fascia release [J]. Journal of Biomechanics, 2002, 35(5): 629–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    CHEUNG J T M, ZHANG M, AN K N. Effect of Achilles tendon loading on plantar fascia tension in the standing foot [J]. Clinical Biomechanics, 2006, 21(2): 194–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    TAO K, WANG D M, WANG C T, et al. An In Vivo Experimental Validation of a Computational Model of Human Foot [J]. Journal of Bionic Engineering, 2009, 6(4): 387–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    SARRAFIAN S K. Functional characteristics of the foot and plantar aponeurosis under tibiotalar loading [J]. Foot Ankle, 1987, 8(1): 4–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    LEMMON D, SHIANG T Y, HASHMI A, et al. The effect of insoles in therapeutic footwear -A finite element approach [J]. Journal of Biomechanics, 1997, 30(6): 615–620.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    HSU C C, TSAI W C, CHEN C P C, et al. Effects of aging on the plantar soft tissue properties under the metatarsal heads at different impact velocities [J]. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 2005, 31(10): 1423–1429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    WRIGHT D G, RENNELS D C. A STUDY OF THE ELASTIC PROPERTIES OF PLANTAR FASCIA [J]. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery-American Volume, 1964, 46(3): 482–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    PAVAN P G, STECCO C, DARWISH S, et al. Investigation of the mechanical properties of the plantar aponeurosis [J]. Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy, 2011, 33(10): 905–911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    JANSEN L H, ROTTIER P B. Some mechanical properties of human abdominal skin measured on excised strips: a study of their dependence on age and how they are influenced by the presence of striae [J]. Dermatologica, 1958, 117(2): 65–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    VOGEL H G. Age dependence of mechanical and biochemical properties of human skin [J]. Bioengineering and the Skin, 1987, (3): 67–91.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    JACQUEMOUD C, BRUYERE-GARNIER K, CORET M. Methodology to determine failure characteristics of planar soft tissues using a dynamic tensile test [J]. Journal of biomechanics, 2007, 40(2): 468–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    CHEUNG J T, ZHANG M, LEUNG A K, et al. Threedimensional finite element analysis of the foot during standing -A material sensitivity study. [J]. Journal of Biomechanics, 2005, 38: 1045–1054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    FONTANELLA C G, FAVARETTO E, CARNIEL E L, et al. Constitutive formulation and numerical analysis of the biomechanical behaviour of forefoot plantar soft tissue [J]. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part H-Journal of Engineering in Medicine, 2014, 228(9): 942–951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    WEARING S C, SMEATHERS J E, URRY S R. The effect of plantar fasciitis on vertical foot-ground reaction force [J]. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 2003, (409): 175–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    SHEPHERD D E T, SEEDHOM B B. The’ instantaneous’ compressive modulus of human articular cartilage in joints of the lower limb [J]. Rheumatology (Oxford), 1999, 38(2): 124–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    SIEGLER S, BLOCK J, SCHNECK C D. The mechanical characteristics of the collateral ligaments of the human ankle joint [J]. Foot & ankle, 1988, 8(5): 234–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    KOGLER G F, SOLOMONIDIS S E, PAUL J P. Biomechanics of longitudinal arch support mechanisms in foot orthoses and their effect on plantar aponeurosis strain [J]. Clinical Biomechanics, 1996, 11(5): 243–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    LEDOUX W R, BLEVINS J J. The compressive material properties of the plantar soft tissue [J]. Journal of Biomechanics, 2007, 40(13): 2975–2981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    CAMACHO D L A, LEDOUX W R, ROHR E S, et al. A three-dimensional, anatomically detailed foot model: A foundation for a finite element simulation and means of quantifying foot-bone position [J]. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 2002, 39(3): 401–410.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    ANDERSON D D, GOLDSWORTHY J K, LI W, et al. Physical validation of a patient-specific contact finite element model of the ankle [J]. Journal of Biomechanics, 2007, 40(8): 1662–1669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    GEFEN A. The in vivo elastic properties of the plantar fascia during the contact phase of walking [J]. Foot Ankle Int, 2003, 24(3): 238–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    DUAN X, LI L, WEI D Q, et al. Role of magnetic resonance imaging versus ultrasound for detection of plantar plate tear [J]. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 2017, 12: 14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Shanghai Jiaotong University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haihua Ou (欧海华)
    • 1
  • Zeeshan Qaiser
    • 1
  • Liping Kang (康利平)
    • 1
  • Shane Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Michigan - Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint InstituteShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and VibrationShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations