Identifying the viscous properties of the plantar soft tissue is crucial not only for understanding the dynamic interaction of the foot with the ground during locomotion, but also for development of improved footwear products and therapeutic footwear interventions. In the present study, the viscous and hyperelastic material properties of the plantar soft tissue were experimentally identified using a spherical indentation test and an analytical contact model of the spherical indentation test. Force-relaxation curves of the heel pads were obtained from the indentation experiment. The curves were fit to the contact model incorporating a five-element Maxwell model to identify the viscous material parameters. The finite element method with the experimentally identified viscoelastic parameters could successfully reproduce the measured force-relaxation curves, indicating the material parameters were correctly estimated using the proposed method. Although there are some methodological limitations, the proposed framework to identify the viscous material properties may facilitate the development of subject-specific finite element modeling of the foot and other biological materials.
- Finite element analysis
- Plantar soft tissue