Foot analysis takes a step forward

Here at Institute of Motion Analysis & Research, TORT Centre, we have developed a unique system that could revolutionise the design of specialist footwear for people with a range of conditions.

Using advanced video techniques to capture measurements of the foot in motion, we have found it is possible to build a frame-by-frame reconstruction of the shape of the foot as it changes throughout each step.

By identifying pressure points and areas where the foot needs support, the system will allow the development of more precise and better shaped insoles and shoes for patients who need custom footwear.

The foot provides a crucial contribution to our balance and stability and for patients who have problems with their gait it is vital that we are able to provide them with footwear that offers the best possible support” said Professor Rami Abboud, Head of the Department of Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgery in the School of Medicine at Dundee and Director of IMAR.

What we have developed, in collaboration with Professor Emanuele Trucco of the School of Computing at Dundee, is the first system of its kind, based around a dynamic foot modelling which shows how the shape and behaviour of the foot changes throughout a whole step.

As you move through a whole step, the shape and structure of the foot change and different pressure points are applied. For people with problems with their gait, we can identify exactly where they are having an issue and then design supporting footwear which will hopefully help ease their problem.

There are existing foot scanners which are commercially available and provide static 3D reconstructions of the foot, but these are expensive. What we have demonstrated is a 4D Foot Reconstruction System using a camera and LCD projector which provides better results.”

The system we have developed uses a video camera and LCD projector, both embedded in a pit in a dedicated walkway. As the patient walks over the pit, the motion of their foot is captured in full, producing a set of images. This novel development was part of Dr Ali Thabet PhD research project at IMAR.

The results of the research are published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.