Feet, Muscles, Texture, and Orthotics!

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Feet, Muscles, Texture, and Orthotics!

Recruitment is currently underway for a new study being conducted at Wilfrid Laurier University

Receptors!? Why do they matter? Well, we use sensory receptors in the bottom of our feet to help us stay balanced while doing everyday activities like standing and walking. Two studies help in understanding how changes in foot sensation alters the activity of our leg muscles. First, Nurse and Nigg (2001) placed ice on the bottom of the feet to decrease sensation. Results showed that our balance changes when our feet are numb! Ultimately, we rely more on areas that have normal sensation compared to the areas with reduced sensation (e.g., areas that were numbed by the ice). These changes in sensation also altered muscle activity in the lower legs. In the second study, Nurse et al. (2005) increased sensation with a textured insole and measured how muscle activity changed. This study found that muscles in the shin and calf were less active during walking because of the textured insoles.

Feet, Muscles, Texture, and Orthotics!

The purpose of my study is to understand the relationship between sensation on the bottom of our feet and leg muscle activity. I am researching how textured insoles change these receptors, and evaluating changes in both balance and muscles during walking.This study will compare the sensitivity of the foot sole in five different places. These five “regions” of the foot will be made more sensitive (e.g., with a textured insole) or less sensitive (e.g., with numbing cream), to see if there are differences across areas of the foot sole.

Feet, Muscles, Texture, and Orthotics!

I’m looking for healthy young adults between the ages of 18-35 years to participate. I will measure muscle activity in participants’ feet and lower legs while they walk across the lab to compare the effects of the textured insoles and numbing cream. This study requires participants to come to the lab once for 2-3 hours. If you want to participate or ask questions, please e-mail me (Kelly) at robb8660@mylaurier.ca, or leave a message at 884-0710 ext 2370. We need your help to advance research, consider participation today!

References:

Nurse, M. A., Hulliger, M., Wakeling, J. M., Nigg, B. M., & Stefanyshyn, D. J. (2005). Changing the texture of footwear can alter gait patterns, 15, 496–506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelekin.2004.12.003

Nurse, M. A., & Nigg, B. M. (2001). The effect of changes in foot sensation on plantar pressure and muscle activity. Clinical Biomechanics, 16(9), 719–727. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0268-0033(01)00090-0