Biomechanical and injury response of human foot and ankle under complex loading

J Biomech Eng. 2013 Oct;135(10):101008. doi: 10.1115/1.4025108.


Ankle and subtalar joint injuries of vehicle front seat occupants are frequently recorded during frontal and offset vehicle crashes. A few injury criteria for foot and ankle were proposed in the past; however, they addressed only certain injury mechanisms or impact loadings. The main goal of this study was to investigate numerically the tolerance of foot and ankle under complex loading which may appear during automotive crashes. A previously developed and preliminarily validated foot and leg finite element (FE) model of a 50th percentile male was employed in this study. The model was further validated against postmortem human subjects (PMHS) data in various loading conditions that generates the bony fractures and ligament failures in ankle and subtalar regions observed in traffic accidents. Then, the foot and leg model were subjected to complex loading simulated as combinations of axial, dorsiflexion, and inversion loadings. An injury surface was fitted through the points corresponding to the parameters recorded at the time of failure in the FE simulations. The compelling injury predictions of the injury surface in two crash simulations may recommend its application for interpreting the test data recorded by anthropometric test devices (ATD) during crash tests. It is believed that the methodology presented in this study may be appropriate for the development of injury criteria under complex loadings corresponding to other body regions as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Ankle / physiology
  • Ankle / physiopathology*
  • Ankle Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Automobile Driving
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Foot / physiology
  • Foot / physiopathology*
  • Foot Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Subtalar Joint / physiopathology
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*