Using Pressure Insoles to Measure In-Shoe Foot Energetics Affected by Shoes and Deformable Foot Orthoses


  • Kevin Wolynetz, Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware

Faculty Mentor(s)

  • Elisa Arch, Kinesiology & Applied Physiology, University of Delaware


Populations with movement related disabilities often require highly specialized footwear, insoles, orthotic or prosthetic devices to increase their functionality and walking ability. Improving these patients’ gait often requires improvements in lower limb energetics, of which the foot is a significant contributor. However, the current gold standard to measure foot energetics involves using a pressure mat or adjacent force plates during barefoot walking. Accuracy decreases when walking with any type of shoe or assistive devices these populations often cannot walk without. To overcome this limitation, we are developing and validating a new methodology to measure in-shoe foot energetics by using pressure insoles in place of a pressure mat. We also plan to document the effect of deformable foot orthoses (DFOs) on typical foot energetics. Sixteen healthy participants walked barefoot and with minimalist shoes for validation of the pressure insoles. Motion capture data of each subject was captured for all trials using Qualisys Track Manager (QTM). Data from the pressure insoles, pressure mat, force plates, and QTM will be used in Visual3D to develop a digital model to perform calculations on foot joint energetics. Once fabrication of the carbon fiber insoles is complete, twenty healthy participants will walk in minimalist and walking shoes with and without DFOs. Data collected from the pressure insoles will be processed and analyzed in the same manner as the previously collected data to investigate the effects of DFOs and differing footwear conditions on foot energetics. We expect an increase in foot joint positive work and power with increasing footwear stiffness. Development of this new methodology will help to further our understanding of foot energetics and how footwear can impact and potentially improve patients’ gait. Further research into effects of DFOs on foot energetics at varying speeds, and analysis at specific foot segments can be conducted with this methodology.