Biomechanical response of the human foot when standing in a natural position while exposed to vertical vibration from 10–200 Hz

Exposure to foot-transmitted vibration (FTV) can lead to pain and numbness in the toes and feet, increased cold sensitivity, blanching in the toes, and joint pain. Prolonged exposure can result in a clinical diagnosis of vibration-induced white foot (VIWFt). Data on the biomechanical response of the feet to FTV is limited; therefore, this study seeks to identify resonant frequencies for different anatomical locations on the human foot, while standing in a natural position. A laser Doppler vibrometer was used to measure vertical (z-axis) vibration on 21 participants at 24 anatomical locations on the right foot during exposure to a sine sweep from 10–200 Hz with a peak vertical velocity of 30 mm/s. The most notable differences in the average peak frequency occur between the toes (range: 99–147 Hz), midfoot (range: 51–84 Hz) and ankle (range: 16–39 Hz).

Practitioner Summary: The biomechanical response of the human foot exposed to foot-transmitted vibration, when standing in a natural position, was measured for 21 participants. The foot does not respond uniformly; the toes, midfoot, and ankle regions need to be considered independently in future development of isolation strategies and protective measures.