A Santander Travel Award has been granted to Dr Kris Hollands and Prof Chris Nester to collaborate with Dr. Leah Bent: (University of Guelph, Canada: https://www.uoguelph.ca/hhns/People/LBent.html) on a project investigating the role of sensation from the soles of the feet, and the effects of sensory stimulating insoles, on controlling balance and walking.
Walking safely requires the ability to adjust foot placements on uneven and/or cluttered ground. Sensation from the skin on our feet, telling the brain how the foot is positioned on the ground and how our body is leaning over our feet, could be crucial in controlling balance in these situations.
Until recently, we haven’t been able to directly measure foot sensation when walking. Recent advances in being able to control how loads and sensory stimulation are applied to the feet and in measuring activation of individual nerves have now uniquely positioned our collaborative team to be among only a few groups worldwide who are able to apply and test the effects of sensory stimulation to discreet regions of the foot during real world walking behaviours.
Kris & Chris will travel to the University of Guelph to gain expert training from Dr. Bent and use specialist instrumentation to evaluate the effect of a specially designed insole (made here at Salford) that activates sensory receptors on the sole of the foot. These will be the first studies of their kind and have implications for: 1) understanding impairments in balance and ability to control foot-placement in response to the environment, 2) the potential use of sensory stimulation as a treatment for walking and 3) footwear design.
To find about more about the University’s partnership with Santander Universities please visit: www.salford.ac.uk/santander
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