This study aimed to identify the stiffness and natural length of the human plantar aponeurosis (PA) during quiet standing using ultrasound shear wave elastography. The shear wave velocity (SWV) of the PA in young healthy males and females (10 participants each) was measured by placing a probe in a hole in the floor plate. The change in the SWV with the passive dorsiflexion of the metatarsophalangeal (MP) joint was measured. The Young’s modulus of the PA was estimated to be 64.7 ± 9.4 kPa, which exponentially increased with MP joint dorsiflexion. The PA was estimated to have the natural length when the MP joint was plantarflexed by 13.8°, indicating that the PA is stretched by arch compression during standing. However, the present study demonstrated that the estimated stiffness for the natural length in quiet standing was significantly larger than that in the unloaded condition, revealing that the PA during standing is stiffened by elongation and through the possible activation of intrinsic muscles. Such quantitative information possibly contributes to the detailed biomechanical modeling of the human foot, facilitating an improved understanding of the mechanical functions and pathogenetic mechanisms of the PA during movements.
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