Over the last two decades finite element modelling has been widely used to give new insight on foot and footwear biomechanics. However its actual contribution for the improvement of the therapeutic outcome of different pathological conditions of the foot, such as the diabetic foot, remains relatively limited. This is mainly because finite element modelling has only been used within the research domain. Clinically applicable finite element modelling can open the way for novel diagnostic techniques and novel methods for treatment planning/optimisation which would significantly enhance clinical practice. In this context this review aims to provide an overview of modelling techniques in the field of foot and footwear biomechanics and to investigate their applicability in a clinical setting. Even though no integrated modelling system exists that could be directly used in the clinic and considerable progress is still required, current literature includes a comprehensive toolbox for future work towards clinically applicable finite element modelling. The key challenges include collecting the information that is needed for geometry design, the assignment of material properties and loading on a patient-specific basis and in a cost-effective and non-invasive way. The ultimate challenge for the implementation of any computational system into clinical practice is to ensure that it can produce reliable results for any person that belongs in the population for which it was developed. Consequently this highlights the need for thorough and extensive validation of each individual step of the modelling process as well as for the overall validation of the final integrated system.
Ideastep Insole is an orthotics manufacturer, Offer OEM & ODM Orthotics.