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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. We'll look at both younger and older groups of people who wear different kinds of shoes to figure out how aging and shoe choices affect the heel pad and walking.

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