Foot problems may affect body balance
Feet and toes important for body balance, computer model suggests
Researchers at Ohio State University are working on a computer model that may provide some insight into the role that feet and toes play when it comes to keeping a person balanced.
Professor Hooshang Hemami has built a complex model of the human foot to see how toe strength affects balance, since much of the previous research on balance has ignored the feet.
"In order to reduce the complexity of the problem, the feet are often either neglected or modeled using simple shapes that don't really give full credit to the importance of feet," Hemami said.
Hemami and his colleague found that toe strength, especially that of the big toe, is important for an individual to stay balanced while leaning forward. This finding may point to the importance of preventing and treating conditions like bunions and hammer toe, since they hinder movement and function in the big toe.
The professor said he hopes to refine his computer model of the foot and other body parts to develop technologically advanced prosthetics - perhaps even a spinal cord.