Study to determine if thongs are harmful to feet

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Melbourne, Nov 24 (ANI): A new study is to be conducted to investigate just how much stress we are putting on our feet by wearing thongs.

The study, by a team of Sydney researchers, will mainly use children aged between eight and 13.

The research team will employ multi-million-dollar technology used to make Hollywood blockbusters such as Lord Of The Rings to track exactly how people walk in a variety of footwear.

The children will have 43 sensors positioned on their body and will walk in front of a series of cameras which measure the movement and angles of their feet within 0.5mm.

Podiatrist and researcher Angus Chard said children were being used as it was easier to study the development of the arch in their foot, which occurs in the first six to eight years.

"We want to find what the best footwear is for our children," the Daily Telegraph quoted Chard as saying.

"The argument is that bare feet is the superior model for footwear, especially for children," he said.

The children in the study will be tested while barefoot, in traditional school shoes and in thongs to see which form of shoe has the best impact on the foot's development.

Chard, who is based at the University of Sydney's biomechanical and footwear research group, said it was difficult to know whether thongs were beneficial.

"Children with flat feet seem to fatigue quickly," Chard said.

"As a podiatrist I see kids quite often with aches and pains.

"It's argued that you have to compensate to wear thongs, that people change the way they walk.

"Some people will claw their feet to keep the thong on while others will extend their toes.

"We simply don't know," he stated.

Epidemiology studies in India and Africa have found that barefoot children are less likely to get flat feet or deformities.

"It's not like we can advise people to start walking around barefoot. We have been wearing shoes for a very long time because it offers protection," he added.

Chard will spend the next six years studying children's footwear.

The initial study is for six months and children must be aged between eight and 13 years with no feet problems in the past six months. (ANI)

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