A patient-specific foot model for the estimate of ankle joint forces in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the leading cause of childhood disability from a musculoskeletal disorder. It generally affects large joints such as the knee and the ankle, often causing structural damage. Different factors contribute to the damage onset, including altered joint loading and other mechanical factors, associated with pain and inflammation. The prediction of patients' joint loading can hence be a valuable tool in understanding the disease mechanisms involved in structural damage progression. A number of lower-limb musculoskeletal models have been proposed to analyse the hip and knee joints, but juvenile models of the foot are still lacking. This paper presents a modelling pipeline that allows the creation of juvenile patient-specific models starting from lower limb kinematics and foot and ankle MRI data. This pipeline has been applied to data from three children with JIA and the importance of patient-specific parameters and modelling assumptions has been tested in a sensitivity analysis focused on the variation of the joint reaction forces. This analysis highlighted the criticality of patient-specific definition of the ankle joint axes and location of the Achilles tendon insertions. Patient-specific detection of the Tibialis Anterior, Tibialis Posterior, and Peroneus Longus origins and insertions were also shown to be important.