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DynPadAge – ageing of the human heel pad

Research related training on how to take foot measurements

The DynPadAge study

Researchers: Elnaggar, Rowlatt

Supervisors: D'Août, Sharp, Brocket, Willems

Research funded by UK Research & Innovation and coordinated from the University of Liverpool.

2024 - 2027

The heel pad, found between the heel bone and the skin, is like a shock absorber for walking, which affects how comfortable we feel while moving. As we get older, this heel pad doesn't work as well because it changes. We're not sure if this change is because of getting older or from using it too much. We can't stop getting older, but we might be able to help the heel pad by making better choices, like wearing the right kind of shoes.

People often pick shoes based on how they look and what's popular, rather than how well they work - this is called the shoe's biomechanics. In this study, we're bringing together different areas of study, like anthropology (looking at cultural and design influences on shoe choice), and functional anatomy and biomechanics. We'll gather information in both a lab (in the UK) and the real world (in the UK, India and Namibia) to understand how the heel pad changes with age and different types of footwear. 

By studying younger and older groups who wear various kinds of shoes, we'll determine how aging and shoe choices affect the heel pad and walking. Our research aims to enhance the understanding and design of footwear to support lifelong foot health, laying the foundation for developing personalized shoes that maintain healthy walking patterns and improve the quality of life, especially for older adults.

We are committed to sharing our findings widely. Through publications, social media, and/or open data repositories, we aim to engage both the academic community and the general public, ensuring that our research contributes to scientific knowledge and has practical, real-world applications.

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