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PhD vacancy on the effects of footwear on the biomechanics of an arthritic foot @Mines Saint-Etiennes (IMT)

The INSERM U1059 Sainbiose laboratory is looking for a PhD student in the framework of a new French National Research Agency (ANR) project “Insole Optimization for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients” (coll. CHU Saint-Etienne, INRIA Alpes).

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common chronic inflammatory joint disease, with a prevalence of about 0.5%. RA is a peripheral polyarthritis that affects the hands and feet: foot function is compromised, which is accompanied by changes in plantar pressures and gait disorders that have a strong impact on daily activities. Foot pain and disability can be reduced with customized foot orthotics and therapeutic footwear. The mechanisms involved in this treatment lack methodological evaluation. In particular, the design of the insoles and their relationship to internal effects such as joint pressure and soft tissue deformities have not been studied due to the difficult nature of such studies in a clinical environment.
From a medical point of view, the INORA project aims to understand, through patient-specific numerical biomechanical models, the mechanisms of action of shoes and orthopedic insoles in order to propose a well-founded design methodology. From a more fundamental point of view, these models will allow the discovery of the mechanical determinants of pain relief, which will promote the long-term well-being of patients.

The thesis project will focus on the mechanical finite element modeling of a moving foot, and then the optimization of the medical device (sole, shoe) in order to minimize the stresses in the critical pain areas. We are looking for a (bio) mechanical engineer with good numerical skills, interested in health applications and able to integrate in a multi-disciplinary research team.

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