New Footwear Technology

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New footwear technology helps prevent trauma and disease, according to reports in New Scientist, 5 April 2003, p15, 25. Sports shoe manufacturers have been promoting the shock absorbing properties of expensive air cell shoes, but a recent study found a four-fold increase in ankle injuries in basketball players who wore the air cushioned shoes. The problem is the shock absorbing shoes hindered the sensory input from the soles of the feet that helps the brain control the muscles acting on ankles and knees so we keep our balance. When we walk barefoot, pressure senses in our skin send signals to the brain which combines them with signals from sensors in our joints and builds up an accurate picture of where our feet are.

Australian physiotherapist Gordon Waddington tested highly trained women soccer players for awareness of ankle inversion (turning in) and found they did best with bare feet or with shoes that had rubber insoles with tiny nodules on the surface. Their usual soccer boots decreased the ability to accurately sense ankle position. This research may not only help prevent sports injuries but might also help prevent falls in elderly people.

Editorial Comment: Human beings were originally created to walk barefoot and (bare everything else). The good world God made would have provided a foot-friendly surface of grass and soft earth. As part of His judgement on Adam and Eve God cursed the ground and made thorns and thistles grow, and from that time on human beings needed to protect their feet. However, our solution, the invention of shoes, meant we literally lost touch with the ground and became more prone to ankle and knee injuries. Since then the world has degenerated even further and we have needed even more protection. A thought for you to consider technology is actually the result of human beings trying to overcome the indirect, but very real effects, of sin coming into the world. (Ref. feet, ankles, footwear)

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