Clinically useful finite element models of the natural ankle – a review

Harriet Talbott, Shilpa Jha, Aashish Gulati, Claire Brockett, Jitendra Mangwani, Elise Pegg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Biomechanical simulation of the foot and ankle complex is a growing research area but compared to simulation of joints such as hip and knee, it has been under investigated and lacks consistency in research methodology. The methodology is variable, data is heterogenous and there are no clear output criteria. Therefore, it is very difficult to correlate clinically and draw meaningful inferences.

The focus of this review is finite element simulation of the native ankle joint and we will explore: the different research questions asked, the model designs used, ways the model rigour has been ensured, the different output parameters of interest and the clinical impact and relevance of these studies.

The 72 published studies explored in this review demonstrate wide variability in approach. Many studies demonstrated a preference for simplicity when representing different tissues, with the majority using linear isotropic material properties to represent the bone, cartilage and ligaments; this allows the models to be complex in another way such as to include more bones or complex loading. Most studies were validated against experimental or in vivo data, but a large proportion (40%) of studies were not validated at all, which is an area of concern.

Finite element simulation of the ankle shows promise as a clinical tool for improving outcomes. Standardisation of model creation and standardisation of reporting would increase trust, and enable independent validation, through which successful clinical application of the research could be realised.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106006
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Financial support was provided by Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK).


  • Ankle
  • Clinical relevance
  • Finite element
  • Modelling
  • Orthopaedics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinically useful finite element models of the natural ankle – a review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this