Fig 1: Mechanical testing of the soft tissues of the sole of the foot using a custom ultrasound indentation device.
In order to address this key societal challenge the research of the Biomechanics team at
Staffordshire University is focused on utilising biomechanics to enhance the clinical management of diabetic foot.
For this purpose a novel in-vivo mechanical testing device was developed to enable the in-depth study of the
biomechanical characteristics of the soft tissues of the diabetic foot (Fig.1). This custom device combines medical
ultrasound and dynamometry to enable real-time imaging of the soft tissues of the foot during mechanical testing.
More specifically, loading is applied through an ultrasound sensor which is in series with a load cell.
When this instrumented ultrasound probe is pressed against the sole of the foot the applied force is measured from
the load cell while the internal deformations of the soft tissues of the foot are measured from the ultrasound images
enabling the calculation of the tissues' force/deformation graph (P. E. Chatzistergos et al., 2014).
In the original design of this device loading was applied manually, but recently this device was motorised
and fully automated with the support of TRM Electronics Ltd (Fig.2).