Mechanics of the foot and ankle joints during running using a multi-segment foot model compared with a single-segment model

Justin C. Wager, John H. Challis

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The primary purpose of this study was to compare the ankle joint mechanics, during the stance phase of running, computed with a multi-segment foot model (MULTI; three segments) with a traditional single segment foot model (SINGLE). Traditional ankle joint models define all bones between the ankle and metatarsophalangeal joints as a single rigid segment (SINGLE). However, this contrasts with the more complex structure and mobility of the human foot, recent studies of walking using more multiple-segment models of the human foot have highlighted the errors arising in ankle kinematics and kinetics by using an oversimplified model of the foot. This study sought to compare whether ankle joint kinematics and kinetics during running are similar when using a single segment foot model (SINGLE) and a multi-segment foot model (MULTI). Seven participants ran at 3.1 m/s while the positions of markers on the shank and foot were tracked and ground reaction forces were measured. Ankle joint kinematics, resultant joint moments, joint work, and instantaneous joint power were determined using both the SINGLE and MULTI models. Differences between the two models across the entire stance phase were tested using statistical parametric mapping. During the stance phase, MULTI produced ankle joint angles that were typically closer to neutral and angular velocities that were reduced compared with SINGLE. Instantaneous joint power (p<0.001) and joint work (p<0.001) during late stance were also reduced in MULTI compared with SINGLE demonstrating the importance of foot model topology in analyses of the ankle joint during running. This study has highlighted that considering the foot as a rigid segment from ankle to MTP joint produces poor estimates of the ankle joint kinematics and kinetics, which has important implications for understanding the role of the ankle joint in running.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0294691
JournalPloS one
Issue number2 February
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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