Biomechanics of the ligamentous structures of the human foot

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 1997
Thesis identifier
  • T8983
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The work reported in this thesis was carried out to investigate the mechanisms of ligamentous action in the human foot during the functions of standing and walking. A comprehensive literature review of the relevant subject areas was presented and a need for further work demonstrated. Ligament strain patterns in cadaveric feet were measured for a number of foot positions and static and dynamic loading patterns, including simulations of standing and gait. Levels of functional strain have been established for each ligament and it has been shown that the plantar ligaments of the tarsus are especially sensitive to the motions of inversion and eversion. Maximum strain levels were witnessed during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle where values of approximately 4 times those seen during standing were found. The action of the extrinsic musculature was able to supplement passive support mechanisms by reducing strain in the subject ligaments. Uniaxial tension testing of isolated preparations of the subject ligaments was then carried out utilising measurements of local strain. In addition to providing a record of the load-deformation responses of the tissues tested, these experiments allowed derivation of a range of functional force estimates for intact normal feet. Stress-strain relationships were also derived and these were compared to contemporary models of ligament mechanics. Functional values of stress were also reported. A mathematical model representing the foot during stance was developed. Force-deformation data and measured anatomical data provided the necessary information to solve the model for the stance condition. The effect of simulated ligament rupture through injury and the effects of surgical ligament release on the strain and force patterns of the unaffected ligament structures were identified. The results of this investigation served as a record of the quantitative biomechanics of the ligaments in the human foot.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Nicol, A. C.
Resource Type