Foot and Ankle Biomechanics: Pathologic Interactions between Kinematics and Morphology

Amy Lenz, PhD

Research Instructor,

Department of Orthopaedics

University of Utah

Friday, December 2nd at 11:45 am

In-Person in SMBB 2650!

Join us for Pizza in Atrium After!


The foot and ankle is a complex structure of numerous articular relationships which operate to provide a stable base of support through active and passive tissue interactions.  Altered morphology can lead to injury, instability, pathological deformity, and osteoarthritis.  My lab’s goal is to characterize healthy, diseased, and post-surgical foot and ankle morphology and in-vivo function to improve clinical treatment of ankle pathologies leading to end-stage ankle osteoarthritis. Our recent studies have investigated the subtalar joint in patients that received a tibiotalar arthrodesis or total ankle replacement (TAR) surgery and found that subtalar joint kinematics are altered after tibiotalar arthrodesis, but we found minimal compensations in the motion of the subtalar joint of patients who had underwent TAR. Dynamic joint articulation measurements, such as joint space distance, coverage, and congruence can be investigated in combination with morphology analyses using statistical shape modeling to investigate the form and function relationship occurring at the subtalar joint following surgical intervention. Our ongoing studies highlight the complexity of the foot and ankle, the value of a robust 3D analyses, the utility of in vitro robotic experiments, and the necessity to further investigate interactions of function and morphology to clinically evaluate flatfoot deformity, osteoarthritis, and injury mechanisms.

Dr. Amy Lenz is a Research Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Utah. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, and her PhD in Engineering Mechanics from Michigan State University. Along her professional journey she was a visiting professor at Grand Valley State University in Mechanical Engineering for two years, and a gait lab engineer at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital for five years before she came to the University of Utah for a postdoctoral fellowship in Orthopaedics. She transitioned to faculty in April 2020, establishing her research team within the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory. Her current work studies foot and ankle orthopaedic biomechanics with a focus on characterizing healthy, diseased, and post-surgical foot and ankle morphology and in-vivo function to improve clinical treatment of ankle pathologies. Her expertise is in medical imaging, human biomechanics, and statistical shape modeling to integrate experimental and computational research to define relationships between 3D anatomy and dynamic movement.

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