Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Jennifer Wayne


Computational modeling of joints and their function, a developing field, is becoming a significant health and wellness tool of our modern age. Due to familiarity of prior research focused on the lower extremity, a foot and ankle 3D computational model was created to explore the potential for these computational methods. The method of isolating CT scanned tissue and rendering a patient specific anatomy in the digital domain was accomplished by the use of MIMICS™ , SolidWorks™, and COSMOSMotion™ – all available in the commercial domain. The kinematics of the joints are driven solely by anatomically modeled soft tissue applied to articulating joint geometry. Soft tissues are based on highly realistic measurements of anatomical dimension and behavior. By restricting all model constraints to true to life anatomical approximations and recreating their behavior, this model uses inverse kinematics to predict the motion of the foot under various loading conditions. Extensive validation of the function of the model was performed. This includes stability of the arch (due to ligament deficiency) and joint behavior (due to disease and repair). These simulations were compared to a multitude of studies, which confirmed the accuracy of soft tissue strain, joint alignment, joint contact force and plantar load distribution. This demonstrated the capability of the simulation technique to both qualitatively recreate trends seen experimentally and clinically, as well as quantitatively predict a variety of tissue and joint measures. The modeling technique has further strength by combining measurements that are typically done separate (experimental vs. clinical) to build a more holistic model of foot behavior. This has the potential to allow additional conclusions to be drawn about complications associated with repair techniques. This model was built with the intent to provide an example of how patient specific bony geometry can be used as either a research or surgical tool when considering a disease state or repair technique. The technique also allows for the repeated use of anatomy, which is not possible experimentally or clinically. These qualities, along with the accuracy demonstrated in validation, prove the integrity of the technique along with demonstrating its strengths.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010