In vivo biomechanical behavior of the human heel pad during the stance phase of gait

Amit Gefen*, Michal Megido-Ravid, Yacov Itzchak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A technique is introduced for simultaneous measurements of the heel pad tissue deformation and the heel-ground contact stresses developing during the stance phase of gait. Subjects walked upon a gait platform integrating the contact pressure display optical method for plantar pressure measurements and a digital radiographic fluoroscopy system for skeletal and soft tissue motion recording. Clear images of the posterior-plantar aspect of the calcaneus and enveloping soft tissues were obtained simultaneously with the pressure distribution under the heel region throughout the stance phase of gait. The heel pad was shown to undergo a rapid compression during initial contact and heel strike, reaching a strain of 0.39±0.05 in about 150ms. The stress-strain relation of the heel pad was shown to be highly non-linear, with a compression modulus of 105±11kPa initially and 306±16kPa at 30% strain. The energy dissipation during heel strike was evaluated to be 17.8±0.8%. The present technique is useful for biomechanical as well as clinical evaluation of the stress-strain and energy absorption characteristics of the heel pad in vivo, during natural gait.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1661-1665
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001


  • Foot-ground contact stress
  • Plantar pressure
  • Radiographic fluoroscopy
  • Soft tissue mechanical properties
  • Walking


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