Wooden Toes

Up todate news from Barry Francis “The Foot Surgeon” with reference to artificial toes.

A report by Dr Jackie Finch, a researcher at the University at Manchester, has shown that a three part wood and leather artifact is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, as well as a second one at the British Museum.  These wooden artificial toes date from before 600 BC which is thought to be earlier than any known practical prosthesis.

Two volunteers were enrolled whose right big toes had been lost in order to test the exact
replicas of the artificial toes in a gait laboratory.  Dr Finch stated that to be classed as a true prosthetic device any replacement must satisfy several criteria, including that the material must withstand bodily forces so it does not snap or crack with use.  Proportion was also important.  She stated that the big toe is thought to carry some 40% of the body weight and is responsible for forward propulsion, although those without it can adapt well.

Volunteers were asked to wear the toes with exact replica Egyptian sandals.  Whilst neither design was expected to perform exactly like a real big toe, one of the volunteers was able
to walk well with both artificial toes. The Greville Chester toe in the British Museum, is made from cartonnage, a sort of papier mache, using linen glue and plaster.  The one on show shows considerable signs of wear, whilst the Cairo toe has certain features such as a simple hinge, a chamfered front edge, and a flattened underside. Findings suggested that both the designs were capable of functioning as replacements for the lost toe and could indeed be classed as prosthetic devices.  It went on to say that if this is the case then it would appears that the first glimmers of this branch of medicine should be firmly laid at the feet of the ancient Egyptians.

At the Fyfield Clinic Mr Barry Francis does not manufacture or supply artificial or wooden toes but we are able to make the best of what you’ve got surgically and non-surgically.

Until the next time Barry Francis “The Foot Surgeon” at the Fyfield Clinic, Enfield and Harley Street.

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