View Full Version : Do the elderly walk heavily on their heels?

07-16-2007, 09:38 AM
Dear all,

Do old people always walk heavily on their heels? The other night I
watched "Dersu Uzala" (the 1975 production of the film directed by Akira
Kurosawa). It is a film based on the memoirs of the Russian explorer
Vladimir Arsenyev's mapping explorations of a remote region of Siberia
in the early 1900s. On one of his expeditions he encountered and
befriended a local hunter called Dersu Uzala who possessed superb
tracking skills; subsequently he often acted as their guide and
pathfinder. At one stage Dersu told Vladimir that they were following
the tracks of an old man. When Vladimir asked him how he could work that
out, Dersu replies that the person ahead had been walking on his heels
and old men always walk heavily on their heels.

It has always been my impression that we humans are a plantigrade
species pure and simple. Is Dersu's contention true and (if so) are the
elderly really more heel-heavy or is it just that they tend to walk more


David McFarlane MAppSc (Ergonomics)
Ergonomist, WorkCover NSW


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