The Herald

Shoe-size threat to climbers

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ROCK climbers are no strangers to danger and face dangling from a cliff edge with little fear.

But now scientists say that the prospect of falling is not the biggest threat to their health, it is their tight-fitting shoes.

Researcher­s at the University of Dundee studied the boots worn by climbers and said that many are donning footwear several sizes too small in a bid to better grip the crevices and cracks needed to scale Scotland’s peaks.

But the team warned that those who do are risking pain and injury to toes and ankles which could have consequenc­es in later life.

The research group built a 10ft climbing wall to test their theory, and studied foot and ankle movements of climbers who took part in the study.

Researcher Ryan McHenry said: “We have uncovered new insights into the problems surroundin­g foot injury and footwear use in rock climbing.

“It is clear that many climbers, particular­ly those of higher ability, choose shoes that are significan­tly smaller than their feet.”

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