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The role of the heel pad and shank soft tissue during impacts: a further resolution of a paradox

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journal contribution
posted on 03.06.2010 by Matthew Pain, John H. Challis
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that by accounting for soft tissue motion of the lower leg during the impacts associated with in vivo testing, that the differences between in vivo and in vitro estimates of heel pad properties can be explained. To examine this a two-dimensional model of the shank and heel pad was developed using DADS. The model contained a heel pad element and a rigid skeleton to which was connected soft tissue which could move relative to the bone. Simulations permitted estimation of heel pad properties directly from heel pad deformations, and from the kinematics of an impacting pendulum. These two approaches paralleled those used in vitro and in vivo respectively. Measurements from the pendulum indicated that heel pad properties changed from those found in vitro to those found in vivo as relative motion of the bone and soft tissue was allowed. This would indicate that pendulum measures of the in vivo heel pad properties are also measuring the properties of the whole lower leg. The ability of the wobbling mass of the shank to dissipate energy during an impact was found to be significant. These results demonstrate the important role of both the heel pad and soft tissue of the shank to the dissipation of mechanical energy during impacts. These results provide a further clarification of the paradox between the measurements of heel pad properties made in vivo and in vitro.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


PAIN, M.T.G. and CHALLIS, J.H., 2001. The role of the heel pad and shank soft tissue during impacts: a further resolution of a paradox. Journal of Biomechanics, 34 (3), pp.327-333.


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