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Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2014;17(11):1198-205. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2012.739165. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Development of a patient-specific anatomical foot model from structured light scan data.

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  • 1a Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo , Waterloo , Canada.


The use of anatomically accurate finite element (FE) models of the human foot in research studies has increased rapidly in recent years. Uses for FE foot models include advancing knowledge of orthotic design, shoe design, ankle-foot orthoses, pathomechanics, locomotion, plantar pressure, tissue mechanics, plantar fasciitis, joint stress and surgical interventions. Similar applications but for clinical use on a per-patient basis would also be on the rise if it were not for the high costs associated with developing patient-specific anatomical foot models. High costs arise primarily from the expense and challenges of acquiring anatomical data via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) and reconstructing the three-dimensional models. The proposed solution morphs detailed anatomy from skin surface geometry and anatomical landmarks of a generic foot model (developed from CT or MRI) to surface geometry and anatomical landmarks acquired from an inexpensive structured light scan of a foot. The method yields a patient-specific anatomical foot model at a fraction of the cost of standard methods. Average error for bone surfaces was 2.53 mm for the six experiments completed. Highest accuracy occurred in the mid-foot and lowest in the forefoot due to the small, irregular bones of the toes. The method must be validated in the intended application to determine if the resulting errors are acceptable.

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