Biomechanical evaluation of heel elevation on load transfer - Experimental measurement and finite element analysis

Yan Luximon, Ameersing Luximon, Jia Yu, Ming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In spite of ill-effects of high heel shoes, they are widely used for women. Hence, it is essential to understand the load transfer biomechanics in order to design better fit and comfortable shoes. In this study, both experimental measurement and finite element analysis were used to evaluate the biomechanical effects of heel height on foot load transfer. A controlled experiment was conducted using custom-designed platforms. Under different weight-bearing conditions, peak plantar pressure, contact area and center of pressure were analyzed. A three-dimensional finite element foot model was used to simulate the high-heel support and to predict the internal stress distributions and deformations for different heel heights. Results from both experiment and model indicated that heel elevations had significant effects on all variables. When heel elevation increased, the center of pressure shifted from the midfoot region to the forefoot region, the contact area was reduced by 26% from 0 to 10.2 cm heel and the internal stress of foot bones increased. Prediction results also showed that the strain and total tension force of plantar fascia was minimum at 5.1 cm heel condition. This study helps to better understand the biomechanical behavior of foot, and to provide better suggestions for design parameters of high heeled shoes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalActa Mechanica Sinica/Lixue Xuebao
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • Heel elevation
  • Numerical foot model
  • Plantar pressure
  • Weight bearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics


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