Prediction of plantar shear stress distribution by artificial intelligence methods

Metin Yavuz, Hasan Ocak, Vincent J. Hetherington, Brian L. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Shear forces under the human foot are thought to be responsible for various foot pathologies such as diabetic plantar ulcers and athletic blisters. Frictional shear forces might also play a role in the metatarsalgia observed among hallux valgus (HaV) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Due to the absence of commercial devices capable of measuring shear stress distribution, a number of linear models were developed. All of these have met with limited success. This study used nonlinear methods, specifically neural network and fuzzy logic schemes, to predict the distribution of plantar shear forces based on vertical loading parameters. In total, 73 subjects were recruited; 17 had diabetic neuropathy, 14 had HaV, 9 had RA, 11 had frequent foot blisters, and 22 were healthy. A feed-forward neural network (NN) and adaptive neurofuzzy inference system (NFIS) were built. These systems were then applied to a custom-built platform, which collected plantar pressure and shear stress data as subjects walked over the device. The inputs to both models were peak pressure, peak pressure-time integral, and time to peak pressure, and the output was peak resultant shear. Root-mean-square error (RMSE) values were calculated to test the models' accuracy. RMSE/actual shear ratio varied between 0.27 and 0.40 for NN predictions. Similarly, NFIS estimations resulted in a 0.28-0.37 ratio for local peak values in all subject groups. On the other hand, error percentages for global peak shear values were found to be in the range 11.4-44.1. These results indicate that there is no direct relationship between pressure and shear magnitudes. Future research should aim to decrease error levels by introducing shear stress dependent variables into the models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number91007-1
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Diabetes
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Instrumentation
  • Neural networks
  • Plantar shear
  • Plantar stresses
  • Shear stress
  • System prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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