Can muscles tune foot stiffness to enhance efficiency of human locomotion? (2016–2019)
The human foot is known to act like a spring to store and return energy during walking and running. We hypothesise that this function is enhanced by muscular contributions within the foot that act to tune the stiffness of the foot and maximise efficiency of force production. This project aims to understand the key role that muscles might play in supporting the arch of the foot and to determine if this improves the efficiency of human walking and running. Exploration of how foot stiffness is controlled during human movement will enhance our understanding of the evolution of human walking and running and contribute to improve the design of modern footwear.