Foot-Ankle Stability (FASt) solutions for lifelong mobility

“You need to improve your stability” is one of the most common pieces of advice offered by clinicians after an individual experiences a fall resulting in an injury. Despite this common advice, researchers are still trying to determine how to best keep a person stable as they age. Recent work has shown that foot and ankle structures may play a critical role in maintaining stability, but how this is accomplished varies from person to person, and may change as people age. In the game “Jenga”, players are required to remove blocks from within the stack and place them on the top of the structure; the blocks at the bottom are more difficult to remove than those closer to the top, as smaller movements at the base can cause the structure to collapse. Feet and ankles are much the same: If there are foot and ankle issues, the lack of stability at a person’s base can create small movement that ultimately contribute to a fall. My research will help researchers and clinicians fundamentally understand the importance of the foot and ankle to movements that are important for mobility (e.g. walking) and use this knowledge to create digital health solutions and assistive technologies aimed at maintaining mobility throughout the lifecycle.