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Classic Biomechanics Articles: "Functional Anatomy of the Foot", by Antony Huson

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Kevin Kirby, Feb 5, 2013.

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    Classic Biomechanics Articles: "Functional Anatomy of the Foot"

    I just discovered that an out-of-print, but classic book chapter by Anthony Huson is now available for download: Functional Anatomy of the Foot on the internet.

    For those of you who have not read this chapter already and/or don't know anything about the author, Anthony Huson, MD, PhD, was the PhD supervisor for both Van Langelaan (Van Langelaan EJ: A kinematical analysis of the tarsal joints: An x-ray photogrammetric study. Acta Orthop. Scand., 54:Suppl. 204, 135-229, 1983) and Benink (Benink, RJ: The constraint mechanism of the human tarsus. Acta Orthop Scand, 56: (Suppl) 215, 1985) in their landmark papers on tarsal motions using x-ray stereophotogrammetry.

    In addition, this chapter that you can now download (Huson A: “Functional anatomy of the foot.” Pages 409-431, in Jahss MH (ed): Disorders of the Foot and Ankle. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, 1991) was a very important reference source for my paper on the Subtalar Joint Axis Location and Rotational Equilibrium Theory of Foot Function (Kirby KA: Subtalar joint axis location and rotational equilibrium theory of foot function. JAPMA, 91:465-488, 2001). Reading Huson's chapter literally gave me the knowledge I needed while writing this paper 13 years ago.

    I highly recommend that you all download and read this chapter since this resource is truly one of the modern classics written by one of the great thinkers on foot biomechanics.
  2. Re: Classic Biomechanics Articles: "Functional Anatomy of the Foot"

    Go read it y'all. Tune. This is one of my favourite pieces of writing, ever. Ever, ever.
  3. efuller

    efuller MVP

    The beauty of the article is how it looks at how possible motion is determined by ligaments and joint surfaces. I was influenced by an earlier paper by Huson (some of the figures of that earllier paper are reprinted in this chapter). That paper helped me to get away from thinking about joint axes and think about forces. The ligaments and joint surfaces determine the motion and the motion determines the axis of motion. The axis of motion does not constrain the motion that you see. This article naturally leads one to think about mechanical analysis of ligaments.

  4. Eric and Simon:

    Since we three tend to think alike, I'm glad you two commented on how much you also liked this chapter. Maybe your comments will get others to take the time to read this important work.

    Now, wouldn't it have also been nice if Huson's work had been known to us during podiatry school? I wonder how many biomechanics professors in the podiatry colleges around the world currently have their students read Huson's work? Probably about one out of 20, is my guess.

    Is this material too complicated for podiatry students? I don't think so. To me, it is very refreshing when compared to much of the material I was taught as "podiatric biomechanics" in podiatry school.:drinks
  5. HansMassage

    HansMassage Active Member

    Thank you for this article. It explains a lot of the discussion on this forum.
    It also helps me understand a lot of the observed patterns of muscle hpertrophy and hypotrophy I find in working with foot, ankle and leg pain.
    I am presuming from the article that the widening of the fore foot, that has erroneously been described as a fallen transverse arch, is really spreading of the connective tissue by the excessive rotation around the second metatarsal. This might explain the success of the bare foot running training of running in place with very careful foot placement to build up connective tissue and muscle sequencing.
    I have found I need to maintain a load on the planter surface of the foot to get an accurate assessment of the lower extremity with the client supine.
  6. Ann PT

    Ann PT Active Member

    Hi Eric,

    "The ligaments and joint surfaces determine the motion..."

    What are your thoughts about muscle length and tension in determining the motion and axis of motion?

  7. efuller

    efuller MVP

    in joints that behave like a hinge, then the ligaments and joint surfaces will determine the motion. The classic example is the elbow. The subtalar joint also pretty much behaves like a hinge. The ankle is a little looser as there is some frontal plane motion. However, when the ankle is loaded, it will pretty much behave as a hinge. When the ankle is loaded, and the foot plantigrade, I doubt that either the posterior tibial or peroneal muscles will be able to create motion other than that determined by the joint surfaces and ligaments.

    Your question is a good one because this not alwas absolute. There are joints where the motion will be determined by muscular activit, ground reaction force, and or gravity. The hip and the talonavicular joints are examples of this. You can hold the rearfoot and move the navicular relative to the talus in frontal plane rotation or abduction adduction or plantar flexion dorsiflexion or a combination of those motions. This counter to the idea that there is a "longitudenal midtarsal joint axis" or an "oblique midtarsal jiont axis" that bones must move around. Even Nestor's study measured the motion that was seen, not the motion that was possible. The Huson article pointed out the truth that the joint surfaces and ligaments are what create the available range of motion. I've heard this concept called the envelope of motion. I beleive this is an important concept that some don't understand. Knowing what structures limit motion is very important in understanding biomechanics.

  8. Thanks for this Kevin. Any idea when the first edition of Huson's book was published?
  9. Huson wrote a chapter in a book edited by Melvin Jahss (Huson, A: “Functional anatomy of the foot.” Pages 409-431, in Jahss, M.H. (ed): Disorders of the Foot and Ankle. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, 1991). Huson did not write a book, to my knowledge.
  10. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    This was one of the first articles that Kevin suggested that I read a number of years back. It really opened up my eyes and challenged some traditionally long held beliefs about foot function that i was taught. I reread it on occasion and always come back with something new, it is not an easy read for me but well worth the effort. Thanks Kevin

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