Changes in the shear plantar soft tissue properties with diabetes are believed to play a role in plantar ulceration, yet little is known about these properties. Our group recently conducted shear tests on specimens previously tested in compression to fully characterize the tissue under both these loading modes. However, previously tested specimens may not necessarily provide representative mechanical properties as prior testing may have altered the tissue to an unknown extent. Thus, the purpose of this study was to test the effect of prior compression testing on both the plantar soft tissue shear and compressive properties using paired specimens. First, one specimen from each pair was subject to compression using our standard protocol with modifications to compare compressive properties before and after the protocol while the other specimen from each pair was left untested. Then, both specimens (i.e., one previously compression tested and one previously untested) were subject to shear testing. The results indicate that prior compression testing may affect the tissue compressive properties by reducing peak stress and modulus; however, additional testing is needed since these results were likely confounded by stress softening effects. In contrast, neither the elastic nor the viscoelastic plantar soft tissue shear properties were affected by prior testing in compression, indicating that previously compression tested specimens should be viable for use in future shear tests. However, these results are limited given the small sample size of the study and the fact that only nondiabetic specimens were examined.

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