Ground reaction force, Shear force, Plantar shear, Foot model, Multi-segment foot


Accurate measurement of ground reaction forces under discrete areas of the foot is important in the development of more advanced foot models, which can improve our understanding of foot and ankle function. To overcome current equipment limitations, a few investigators have proposed combining a pressure mat with a single force platform and using a proportionality assumption to estimate subarea shear forces and free moments. In this study, two adjacent force platforms were used to evaluate the accuracy of the proportionality assumption on a three segment foot model during normal gait. Seventeen right feet were tested using a targeted walking approach, isolating two separate joints: transverse tarsal and metatarsophalangeal. Root mean square (RMS) errors in shear forces up to 6% body weight (BW) were found using the proportionality assumption, with the highest errors (peak absolute errors up to 12% BW) occurring between the forefoot and toes in terminal stance. The hallux exerted a small braking force in opposition to the propulsive force of the forefoot, which was unaccounted for by the proportionality assumption. While the assumption may be suitable for specific applications (e.g. gait analysis models), it is important to understand that some information on foot function can be lost. The results help highlight possible limitations of the assumption. Measured ensemble average subarea shear forces during normal gait are also presented for the first time.

Original Publication Citation

Bruening DA, Cooney KM, Buczek FL, Richards JG. Measured and estimated ground reaction forces for multi-segment foot models. J Biomech. 2010 Dec 1;43(16):3222-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.08.003. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL






Life Sciences


Exercise Sciences

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor