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Sailing charted seas: biomechanics and the orthopedic surgeon

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Biomechanical models have been used to study the distribution of foot forces, metatarsal stresses, heel pad, arch height, plantar aponeurosis, subtalar joint, extrinsic muscles, medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy, subtalar arthroereisis and lateral column lengthening calcaneal osteotomy in the normal and flatfoot. We review past research data and discuss results as they relate to relevant clinical topics. [16]


A three dimensional multi-segment biomechanical model [7] was used with anatomical data from normal feet, feet made flat and corrected feet. The model includes a series of equations that describe how the foot deforms under a theoretical applied load of 683 Newtons (70 Kg.) on one foot in static stance phase


Lateral Column Lengthening Calcaneal Osteotomy (LCL) decreases the forces needed by ligaments to resist moments at the medial arch joints by -79% and the talo-navicular Joint -63% in the flattened foot.

Table 1 Moments in Newton-meters (N-m)
Figure 1

Cadaver Foot with calibrated cage and pointer for Direct Linear Transformation Photography illustrating LCL.


The model has accurately predicted the deformation of the foot under a theoretical load of 683 Newtons. We have analyzed the effect of various surgical procedures on the flatfoot. We discussed the clinical relevance of the model data to the ankle sprain, 5th metatarsal stress fracture, posterior tibial tendon insufficiency, the flatfoot and the cavus foot.


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Eric P Salathe Sr. PhD.

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Correspondence to George A Arangio.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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  • Ankle Sprain
  • Biomechanical Model
  • Subtalar Joint
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon
  • Extrinsic Muscle