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Material properties of the heel fat pad across strain rates.


The complex structural and material behaviour of the human heel fat pad determines the transmission of plantar loading to the lower limb across a wide range of loading scenarios; from locomotion to injurious incidents. The aim of this study was to quantify the hyper-viscoelastic material properties of the human heel fat pad across strains and strain rates. An inverse finite element (FE) optimisation algorithm was developed and used, in conjunction with quasi-static and dynamic tests performed to five cadaveric heel specimens, to derive specimen-specific and mean hyper-viscoelastic material models able to predict accurately the response of the tissue at compressive loading of strain rates up to 150s(-1). The mean behaviour was expressed by the quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) material formulation, combining the Yeoh material model (C10=0.1MPa, C30=7MPa, K=2GPa) and Prony׳s terms (A1=0.06, A2=0.77, A3=0.02 for τ1=1ms, τ2=10ms, τ3=10s). These new data help to understand better the functional anatomy and pathophysiology of the foot and ankle, develop biomimetic materials for tissue reconstruction, design of shoe, insole, and foot and ankle orthoses, and improve the predictive ability of computational models of the foot and ankle used to simulate daily activities or predict injuries at high rate injurious incidents such as road traffic accidents and underbody blast.