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The importance of the toes in walking

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The importance of well-functioning toes has long been recognised but has not previously been assessed in biomechanical studies. We have examined the weight-bearing function of the foot in 160 normal subjects by use of the pedobarograph. The function of the toes was assessed by reference to the time they were in contact with the ground and the peak pressures they exerted individually in comparison with other parts of the foot. The toes were in contact for about three-quarters of the stance phase of gait and exerted peak pressures similar to those of the metatarsal region. When the foot was bearing the second peak of total force, the area in contact with the ground (the metatarsal heads and toes) was decreasing.

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