Ankle and Foot Biomechanics during Human Walking: Powerful Insights on Multiarticular Muscles, Soft Tissues, and Toe Joint Dynamics
Honert, Eric Christian
The goal of my research is to investigate the biomechanical contributions of the human foot to walking. We examined the role of mono- and multi- jointed musculatures across the human ankle and foot during walking through an electromyography-driven musculoskeletal model. We also examined an assumption made in many gait analyses: the entire human foot is a single rigid-body segment. This assumption neglects power generated/absorbed within the foot which can lead to misunderstandings related to (biological and prosthetic) foot function and thus distort our understanding of ankle and underlying muscle-tendon dynamics. Additionally, we examined the contributions of the foot and the shoe versus the rest-of-the-body to the soft tissue energy absorption during early stance of human walking. Lastly, through a custom-designed prosthesis, we examined the role of ankle stiffness, toe joint stiffness, toe shape, foot arch length (from heel to toe joint) and toe length as well as toe joint axis angle to walking biomechanics. This biological and non-biological understanding of the foot can inform design parameters for assistive devices such as prostheses to enhance walking for persons with amputation.