parameter identification of hyperelastic material properties of the heel pad based on an analytical contact mechanics model of a spherical indentation

Accurate identification of the material properties of the plantar soft tissue is important for computer-aided analysis of foot pathologies and design of therapeutic footwear interventions based on subject-specific models of the foot. However, parameter identification of the hyperelastic material properties of plantar soft tissues usually requires an inverse finite element analysis due to the lack of a practical contact model of the indentation test. In the present study, we derive an analytical contact model of a spherical indentation test in order to directly estimate the material properties of the plantar soft tissue. Force-displacement curves of the heel pads are obtained through an indentation experiment. The experimental data are fit to the analytical stress-strain solution of the spherical indentation in order to obtain the parameters. A spherical indentation approach successfully predicted the non-linear material properties of the heel pad without iterative finite element calculation. The force-displacement curve obtained in the present study was found to be situated lower than those identified in previous studies. The proposed framework for identifying the hyperelastic material parameters may facilitate the development of subject-specific FE modeling of the foot for possible clinical and ergonomic applications.

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