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An Anatomically-Based Model of the Nerves in the Human Foot

Authors: Muhammad Zeeshan UlHaque, Peng Du, Leo K. Cheng, Marc D. Jacobs


Sensory nerves in the foot play an important part in the diagnosis of various neuropathydisorders, especially in diabetes mellitus.However, a detailed description of the anatomical distribution of the nerves is currently lacking. A computationalmodel of the afferent nerves inthe foot may bea useful tool for the study of diabetic neuropathy. In this study, we present the development of an anatomically-based model of various major sensory nerves of the sole and dorsal sidesof the foot. In addition, we presentan algorithm for generating synthetic somatosensory nerve networks in the big-toe region of a right foot model. The algorithm was based on a modified version of the Monte Carlo algorithm, with the capability of being able to vary the intra-epidermal nerve fiber density in differentregionsof the foot model. Preliminary results from the combinedmodel show the realistic anatomical structure of the major nerves as well as the smaller somatosensory nerves of the foot. The model may now be developed to investigate the functional outcomes of structural neuropathyindiabetic patients.

Keywords: Finite element modeling, diabetic neuropathy, Monte Carlo Algorithm, Somatosensory nerve networks

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