Gait Analysis Driven 2D Finite Element Model of the Neuropathic Hindfoot

Annamaria Guiotto, Alessandra Scarton, Zimi Sawacha, Gabriella Guarneri, Angelo Avogaro and Claudio Cobelli

The diabetic foot is one of the most serious complications of diabetes mellitus and it can lead to foot ulcerations and amputations. Finite element analysis quantifies the loads developed in the different anatomical structures and describes how these affect foot tissue during foot–floor interaction. This approach for the diabetic subjects’ foot could provide valuable information in the process of plantar orthosis fabrication and fit. The purpose of this study was to develop two finite element models of the hindfoot, of healthy and diabetic neuropathic subjects. These models accounts for in vivo kinematics, kinetics, plantar pressure (PP) data and magnetic resonance images. These were acquired during gait analysis on 10 diabetic neuropathics and 10 healthy subjects. Validity of the models has been assessed through comparison between the peak PPs of simulated and experimental data: root mean square error (RMSE) in percentage of the experimental peak value was evaluated. Two different finite elements analysis were performed: subject-specific simulations in terms of both geometry and gait analysis, and by adopting the complete gait analysis dataset as boundary conditions. Model predicted plantar pressures were in good agreement with those experimentally measured. Best agreement was obtained in the subject-specific case (RMSE of 13%).