Biomechanics and the science of walking

Since participating in the shoe prints and forensic science research study, which I wrote about in late July, I have taken part in another research study. My friend told me about this study, researching the natural variance of the human footprint.

This study took place in a biomechanics lab (biomechanics is just a fancy name for the study of human movement). There, I was asked to walk across a designated area barefoot and with shoes. Special equipment on the floor measured my footprints while I walked and sent information to a computer. This kind of technology – assessing footprint patterns when walking – is often used to determine what footwear best suits a person.

I found the researcher quite amusing because he was way more excited about my results than I was. I guess it’s nice to see someone so passionate about their research. To me, my results were just a bunch of colourful graphs and diagrams, but the researcher kept saying my footprints were ‘Beautiful!’ and ‘Fantastic!’ Errr… thanks, I think. This is the first time anyone has ever complimented me on my feet or soles of my feet. The researcher was very excited because in the results, all my individual toes and weight transfer across each toe can be clearly seen. The researcher said this was not common and some people’s toes were all squashed together.

My results for walking with bare feet in the biomechanics lab. Areas that are coloured red and yellow are areas where I have exerted more force/placed more weight.

My results from doing this study: my weight transfer from heel to toe is consistent all over, which is a good thing. When I walk, my left foot points straight in the direction that I am walking, but my right foot is slightly turned out, at an angle of about 13 degrees. The researcher also said my feet are wide. I kind of already knew that, but it has just been scientifically proven. Lastly, he said that there are 26 bones in the foot and you need to take care of them. One way to do that is to replace your shoes before the soles get too worn.

I could choose what shoe to wear for the research study. This is my result for walking with skate shoes in the biomechanics lab.

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