This paper deals with the constitutive formulation of heel pad tissue and presents a procedure for identifying constitutive parameters using experimental data, with the aim of developing a computational approach for investigating the actual biomechanical response. The preliminary definition of constitutive parameters was developed using a visco-hyperelastic formulation, considering experimental data from in vitro compression tests on specimens of fat pad tissue and data from in vivo tests to identify the actual trend of tissue stiffness. The discrepancy between model results and experimental data was evaluated on the basis of a specific cost function, adopting a stochastic/deterministic procedure. The parameter evaluation was upgraded by considering experimental tests performed on the fat pad tissues of a cadaveric foot using in situ indentation tests at 0.01 and 350 mm/s strain rates. The constitutive formulation was implemented in a numerical model. The comparison of data from in situ tests and numerical results led to an optimal domain of parameters based on an admissible discrepancy criterion. Numerical results evaluated for different sets of parameters inside the domain are reported and compared with experimental data for a reliability evaluation of the proposed procedure.
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