About this Research Topic
The human foot is arguably our most distinctive morphological and functional structure, and as such is widely considered a defining “hallmark” of our bipedalism. Our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, have long toes and a highly mobile mid-foot to provide the necessary flexibility for grasping and climbing in arboreal environments. By contrast, the human foot is unique among great apes in possessing stabilized longitudinal arches in the mid-foot, which impart the necessary stiffness to allow the metatarsals to act as a propulsive lever to enhance the mechanical efficiency of striding bipedalism over relatively uniform terrestrial substrates.
For much of the 20th Century this basic mechanical model of the human foot as a shock absorber during early stance and a rigid, propulsive lever in late stance provided a foundational paradigm in both scientific and clinical disciplines. However, the increasing sophistication of biomechanical studies in recent decades has begun to refine this simple mechanical model of the foot, noting (among many fascinating findings) high levels of anatomical and functional variation within and between human populations and tuneable functionality of the foot in a variety of contexts (footwear, terrain, behavior). These insights have not only furthered our understanding of the basic mechanical function of the foot, but delivered new important insights into selective pressures that have driven our evolutionary history, how the foot is impacted by aging and disease, and how we might better tackle limb dysfunction through clinical treatment (e.g. orthotics, surgical interventions).
The goal of the Research Topic is to further advance understanding of how foot anatomy and function interact and contribute to the mechanics and energetics of human locomotion. This Research Topic will describe advances in measurement and analysis of foot morphology, kinematics and kinetics, which contribute to our knowledge of the evolution, healthy function, dysfunction and/or clinical treatment of the human lower limb.
Topics to be included are:
• Comparisons of foot morphology within or across human populations, or with other species, that deliver novel insights into foot function.
• Analyses of foot-substrate interactions that shed light on the modulation of foot function in different environmental circumstances (e.g. locomotion across non-uniform terrain, alterations to foot mechanics by different footwear).
• Use of computational models to further our understanding of links between foot anatomy and function, and the foot’s contribution to overall gait.
• Use of state-of-the-art imaging modalities for quantifying both functional anatomy and behaviour (kinematics, kinetics) of the foot in-vivo.
• Mechanistic studies that explore healthy vs unhealthy foot function and provide a new evidence-base for clinical interventions.
We would like to acknowledge Dr. James Charles who stands at the Co-ordinator for this Research Topic.
Keywords: Foot Biomechanics, Biomechanical Modeling, Foot Anatomy, Foot Function, Mechanics and Energetics, Human Locomotion
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.