A Viscoelastic Ellipsoidal Model of the Mechanics of Plantar Tissues

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Biomechanics

First page number:


Last page number:



Several assessments of the mechanics of plantar tissues, using various material models in conjunction with representing plantar regions using simple geometry, have been proposed. In this study, the plantar tissues were divided into eight regions to account for the various tissue characteristics. The plantar tissue model described each region as an ellipsoid, with a viscoelastic material model. The model combined varying elliptical contact areas with nonlinear tissue stiffness and damping. The main instruments used in this research were pressure-measuring insoles, which were used to determine the ground reaction force, as well as contact areas. The measured contact areas were fitted as elliptical areas to describe the compression of the corresponding ellipsoids. The approach was tested using walking data collected from 26 individuals: four men, 22 women, 24.4 ± 6.9 years old, 66.9 ± 21.4 kg of mass, 1.66 ± 0.12 m tall. The geometric and material variables of the proposed ellipsoidal model were optimized for each participant to match the ground reaction forces. Results suggest that the ellipsoid model is able to reproduce ground reaction force with reasonable accuracy. The largest errors were seen in heel and toe regions and were due to high-rate forces and small comparative areas, respectively. The model also showed that there are regional differences in the mechanical characteristics of plantar tissue, which confirms earlier research.


Varying contact area models; Walking; Pressure-measuring insoles; Ground reaction force


Applied Mechanics | Biomechanical Engineering | Biomechanics | Kinesiology



UNLV article access

Search your library