Influence of arch support heights on the internal foot mechanics of flatfoot during walking: A muscle-driven finite element analysis

Yinghu Peng, Duo Wai Chi Wong, Tony Lin Wei Chen, Yan Wang, Guoxin Zhang, Fei Yan, Ming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Different arch support heights of the customized foot orthosis could produce different effects on the internal biomechanics of the foot. However, quantitative evidence is scarce. Therefore, we aimed to investigate and quantify the influence of arch support heights on the internal foot biomechanics during walking stance. Methods: We reconstructed a foot finite element model from a volunteer with flexible flatfoot. The model enabled a three-dimensional representation of the plantar fascia and its interactions with surrounding osteotendinous structures. The volunteer walked in foot orthosis with different arch heights (low, neutral, and high). Muscle forces during gaits were calculated by a multibody model and used to drive a foot finite element model. The foot contact pressures and plantar fascia strains in different regions were compared among the insole conditions at the first and second vertical ground reaction force (VGRF) peak and VGRF valley instants. Results: The results indicated that peak foot pressures decreased in balanced standing and second VGRF as the arch support height increased. However, peak midfoot pressures increased during all simulated instants. Meanwhile, high arch support decreased the plantar fascia loading by 5%–15.4% in proximal regions but increased in the middle and distal regions. Conclusion: Although arch support could generally decrease the plantar foot pressure and plantar fascia loading, the excessive arch height may induce high midfoot pressure and loadings at the central portion of the plantar fascia. The consideration of fascia-soft tissue interaction in modeling could improve the prediction of plantar fascia strains towards design optimization for orthoses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104355
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Finite element analysis
  • Flatfoot
  • Foot orthosis
  • Foot-ankle complex
  • Plantar fascia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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