Welcome to the Podiatry Arena forums

You are currently viewing our podiatry forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view all podiatry discussions and access our other features. By joining our free global community of Podiatrists and other interested foot health care professionals you will have access to post podiatry topics (answer and ask questions), communicate privately with other members, upload content, view attachments, receive a weekly email update of new discussions, access other special features. Registered users do not get displayed the advertisements in posted messages. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our global Podiatry community today!

  1. Everything that you are ever going to want to know about running shoes: Running Shoes Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Have you considered the Critical Thinking and Skeptical Boot Camp, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Have you considered the Clinical Biomechanics Boot Camp Online, for taking it to the next level? See here for more.
Dismiss Notice
Have you liked us on Facebook to get our updates? Please do. Click here for our Facebook page.
Dismiss Notice
Do you get the weekly newsletter that Podiatry Arena sends out to update everybody? If not, click here to organise this.

Falanga - foot pain following torture

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by NewsBot, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    Prevalence of pain in the head, back and feet in refugees previously exposed to torture: a ten-year follow-up study.
    Olsen DR, Montgomery E, Bojholm S, Foldspang A.
    Disabil Rehabil. 2007 Jan 30;29(2):163-71.
     
  2. DaVinci

    DaVinci Well-Known Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    What sort of torture involves the foot?
     
  3. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    Beating the sole with a usually a bamboo pole
     
  4. Ian North

    Ian North Member

  5. John Spina

    John Spina Active Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    This is a topic that has never really been discussed and I thank you for bringing this up.
     
  6. Bug

    Bug Well-Known Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    I have seen this twice in the Community health service with some of the refugee population. Truly horrific and x-rays shows plantar fat pad ruptures and multiple old fractures. Apart from a load of counseling, podiatry provided some relief in the form of cushioned insoles, supportive insoles and a friendly smile.
     
  7. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Re: Foot pain following torture

    Clinical findings in men with chronic pain after falanga torture.
    Prip K, Persson AL.
    Clin J Pain. 2008 Feb;24(2):135-41.
     
  8. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    Northy

    You promised me you would never tell anyone what I did in my spare time :bash:
    Paul Tinley has published a case history paper in the Australian Journal and Evelyn Weir and myself wrote a paper on Falanga for the UK podiatry journal. Here in Perth (WA) there is a Torture Victims Service for migrants and I briefly worked with the physiotherapist on some of her cases. I had a chapter on foot torture at the Curtin University ebook on the history of Shoes (now no longer hosted by the Universty), prior to the beginning of the Iraq War the chapter on Foot Torture was one of the highest hit sites out of the 33 chapters posted. Closer inspection of who was visiting revealed one of the biggest users was the Australian Department of Defense. Further enquiry revealed the web site contained an accumulation of detail not seen anywhere else, and as it was feared 'falanga' would be a torture used on captured personnel> The department were collecting as much data as they could prior to the invasion . In some of the press coverage of the war there was reference to flanaga which many of the political prisoners endured. There were even falanga stocks to hold many prisoners feet so multi beatings could be done.

    What follows is a Brief History of Foot Torture (not recommended for the faint hearted).

    S&m toeslayer

    In earlier times the desire to quell free thought and the need to elicit perceived truth were indistinguishable and achieved, in the main, through the medium of torture. Throughout history the black art of inflicting pain has been ever present but perhaps had its heyday in the middle ages. By the sixteenth century it was plain persuasion by means of pressing which usually ended in death. Whilst this solved one problem by removing the deviant, it was less satisfactory in court cases where confessions and names of accomplices were required. Feet provided a most acceptable alternative. Reasonably easy to inflict excruciating pain with added advantage on not causing death, foot torture became well established in civilised societies and continues to exist to this day. Torture may be described as a form of cruelty or method of tormenting sanction by the State, and executed by duly accredited or appointed officials, through judicial authorities. Torture justifies itself as the most satisfying method of compelling acceptance of dictatorial jurisdiction, by repressing and preventing all attempts to rebel against that authority or the tenets of its creed. In the State, as in the Church, in waging war upon treason on the one hand and heresy on the other torture was admitted to be the most powerful instrument available. Torture and punishment was the primitive law that provided a means for forcing the individual to act contrary to their wishes as well as preventing them from rebelling against the existent rules of the governing body. (Scott, 1995) Whilst torture was never recognised by the common law of England, it was practised with the full authority of the reigning monarchs. Torture was used to extract confession and to obtain evidence but the activities were disguised, euphemised or justified under the name of punishment or as a discipline. The Anglo Saxons were callous and cruel. Judges and executioners of the Middle Ages were compelled to be continually inventing new and more severe forms of torture. The brutal form of punishment practised in one decade became a commonplace method in the next. The principle of public exhibitions involving torture and cruelty may have been an attempt to lessen the incidence of lust, murders and lynching’s. Recorded history indicates witches were persecuted from the time of Noah but it was not until the end of the fifteenth century when Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull which specifically called to exterminate sorcerers and witches as enemies of the Christian religion. Pain was often so extreme the victim was impelled to confess anything which the interrogator might wish. The provisions of the Magna Carta represented torture as abhorrent to the principle of English freedom but for 400 years judicial torture was used and inflicted as a form of punishment. Many brave people tried to put and end to the painful persecution but it took until the nineteenth century to become outlawed. The English renounced judicial torture in 1640 and it was abolished in Scotland in 1708. Frederick the Great abolished torture in Prussia. (1740). The Italians abolished torture in 1786, the French 1789. In Russia it came to an end 1801, in Spain 1812. China acquired a reputation for torture through the ages. Whilst in reality most of this was ill founded and more than likely what ever measures were deployed these were probably learned from so called more civilised countries. In the seventeenth century writers Kia Quen a form of torture which consisted of three pieces of wood connected by rope to the foot and was placed between them, then systematically squeezed until the heel compressed into the foot. Ankle torture was reserved for male culprits and finger torture (Tean Zu) was restricted to females. Bastinado (beating the sole of the foot) was preferred for both sexes and often inflicted with sufficient vigour as to case the victim to die. Falanga (or bastinado) describes a form of foot torture where victims were bound with their feet raised and their soles beaten with sticks (later cables or metal implements). It is thought falanga had its origins in the Turkey. Sometimes blows were direct to bare feet or through shoes. In severe cases, casualties were forced to walk on glass; or jump, on the spot, carrying a heavy weight. The immediate effects are pains, with bleeding and tissue swelling but permanent damaged is dependent on posttraumatic oedema (or swelling). Torturers might limit this, as part of the ordeal, by cooling the feet or forcing the victim to put their shoes on after a beating. Smashing the heel and ball of the foot destroys the natural fatty-fibro padding, which assists shock absorption in normal walking. Depending on the severity of damage this would leave the victim unable to walk without pain. Skin wounds heal by second intention, leaving painful scars. Detachment of the skin at its deeper levels results in damage to proprioception adding considerable to pathological gait. Many victims report aponeuritis where the whole sole of the foot has become painful. Changes in pressure within muscle compartments caused a radical change in walking style. The feet are reported as hot and cold and there is an increase in the rate of perspiration. Stability and balance may also be adversely affected due to falanga. In many regions of the world falanga is still practiced as a form of corporal punishment in bringing up children. In the Middle Ages falanga was a punishment often used on traders who were dishonest. For some reason bakers were particularly singled and this sent shock waves across Europe. In England, bakers attempted to avoid such official scrutiny by making a good will gesture to their customers and supplying a thirteenth role with any dozen purchased. Hence the origins of the bakers dozen. A common misunderstanding was the thirteen, represented the twelve disciples plus Jesus.

    Flagellation is the oldest form of punishment. Although this is not always the same as torture, private individuals may use to it to this effect. At one time or another many types of whips rods and cudgels have been employed. Bastinado of the Eastern nations. Historically the Irish were not a nation known to use torture however a preferred punishment mooted out by many Irish terrorists was knee capping, i.e. shooting the victim through the knee. Because this was so commonplace, Belfast orthopaedic surgeons perfected new reconstructive techniques and combined with rehabilitation improved the victim’s chances of walking without a limp. Agents of terror soon changed their modus operandi and shot their victims through the foot instead. The term toe cutter is Australian slang for a person who lives by torturing other criminals, then robbing them. As the name implies the torture usually involves painful removal of the digits or in some cases the complete foot. Few victims ever inform since their loss has been acquired illegally. The first toe cutter was "Jimmie the Pom" and his gang operated in the Sydney area during the seventies. Fellow criminals were threatening bodily harm, until they disclosed the whereabouts of their ill begotten gains. Their modus operandi was to cut people's toes off, with bolt cutters. By day the leader of the extortionists ran a dress shop. He immigrated to Australia in 1967 and claimed to be a member of the notorious Kray Brothers Gang from East London where he picked up the idea. His technique seemed to work because over the years it is reputed the Toe Cutter Gang was able to amass considerable loot from their fiendish toe fetish. Less adept copycats used blowtorches applied to the soles of the feet to achieve the same end.


    Torture of the boot was considered by contemporary observers to be most severe and cruel. The alarm caused by the idea of the torture was enough to upset those who witnessed and oversaw the persecution. Orders compelling the number of people required to stay were necessary. Used frequently from sixteenth century well documented. Women were not immune to the torture of the boot The Scots have never been backward when it comes to ingenuity and invention and were at the forefront of niche torture, inventing the boot (bootkins). The cunning device ensured maximum agony but without endangering life in anyway. There were several versions of the boot and all caused excruciating agony. The earlier boot consisted of a frame around the lower leg and foot, similar to those that support young saplings. In a systematic way increasing the tension to the tissues by driving wooden wedges into the framework caused compression of soft tissue and crushing to the legs and feet. Later the wooden frame was replaced with an iron boot. Wedges were driven downward between the boot and flesh causing pure agony. The Royals would frequently visit the torture sessions and considered them as entertainment. The boot was often reserved for suspected practitioners of the occult with many accused witches and warlocks forced to endure foot torture. Sometimes the boot was heated until red hot during interrogation a reference to this practice is found in Grimm's fairytales. The victims were often kept trussed up for weeks, usually naked and in extreme cold and damp conditions before confessions were secured. The caspicaws (or cashielawis meaning warm hose) was notorious as the Spanish Boot. The Spanish Boot was an iron casing for the leg and foot which had a screw attachment for compressing the calf of the leg. Sometimes the leggings were applied to the leg then heated or pre heated before application. The advantage of the former method was questions could be asked before applying heat, otherwise damages was so immediate by the latter , there was little advantage to the interrogator and the threat of application was the greatest and often the treat of last resort. High boots made of spongy leather were placed on the legs of the victim and then placed in front of a burning fire. Boiling water was poured into the boots penetrating the leather, subsequent shrinkage tore at the flesh. Brodequins described another type of torture where the victim was seated on a strong bench, and boards of suitable width and length were placed on the inside and outside of each leg, and tightly bound in position with strong rope, the two legs in their casing being fixed together. Wedges of wood or metal were driven with a mallet between the centre boards. Four wedges were used for ordinary torture and eight wedges in what was termed extraordinary torture. As the chords bit through the flesh it caused excruciating pain. In many case the bones were fractured. This type of boot was used exclusively in Scotland in the seventeenth century An other modification on the boot was to encase the victim's legs in crude stockings, made from parchment. Applied wet, the victims were placed next to a fire with and when the fabrics shrunk the ensuing pain was agonising. The French version of the boot required victims to be forced into high boots made of thick spongy leather. Quantities of scalding hot water were poured into the watertight boots causing the flesh to cook. The Irish customised the boot and modified the French practice by pouring melted resin into the boots. Confessions were swift. The Spanish and Austria Hungarian Empire used both crusher boots with wedges as well as the iron boot. Later variations on the basic boot theme included shin crushers from Germany and bone crushing tongs from Spain and the iron slipper was used by the Lisbon Inquisition (1704). Often the implement of torture was applied red hot and placed on the naked foot. (Scott G R 1995) Boots and other instruments of torture were in constant use (seventeenth century) the boots were used in the persecution of witches. It was rare for anyone to survive the ordeal without permanent disfigurement.

    The Indians used an implement called the Kittee. It was made of wood and resembled a domestic lemon squeezer. Sensitive parts pf the body including the feet were squeezed between two plates until the victim could bare it no more. When applied to the foot, the executioner would stand on the upper board or heap heavy stones leaving the victim for hours at a stretch. Torture by the kittee usually left the victim crippled. A bizarre torture practiced in Medieval France called for the victim to tied to a bench and their feet bathed in salt water. A goat was brought to the poor unfortunate prisoner and allowed to lick their feet. The rough tongue to the sensitive soles of the feet, plus the fear of being bitten by the goat soon brought a confession. In the days of the British Empire when the armies were stationed in the outposts living in tented camps, spiked tent pegs provided an elementary but effective form of punishment. The technique was called the Piquet or Picket. A long post was driven into the ground and the soldier left to stand on a stool beside it. His right hand was attached to a hook at the top of the post. A short length of timber was driven into the ground near the stool, its upper end rounded to a blunt point. The soldier had to rest one heel on the stake when the stool was removed. Suspended from one wrist with his weight pressing on the spike into his bare heel, the most unruly private learnt the error of his ways especially when, after fifteen minutes, the position would be reversed. This torture was almost exclusive to the military but there was one case reported in Trinidad (1801) where young women had to undergo a modified form of picket where her big toe was balanced on a sharp spike in the ground as she was suspended from the wrists.


    Bibliography
    Abbott G 1997 Rack, rope and hot pincer: a history of tortuture and its instruments London: Brockhampton Press
    Read MB 1991 Chopper: from the inside NSW: Sly Ink
    Scott GR 1995 A history of torture London: Senate
     
  9. N.N.

    N.N. Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    thanks for the great discussion!

    I sure learned a lot from that!
     
  10. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Re: Foot pain following torture

    Diagnostic accuracy of heel pad palpation - A phantom study.
    Torp-Pedersen ST, Matteoli S, Wilhjelm JE, Amris K, Bech JI, Christensen R, Danneskiold-Samsøe B.
    J Forensic Leg Med. 2008 Oct;15(7):437-442
     
  11. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

    Re: Foot pain following torture

    Thanks for the posting Newsbot. One of the many surprising things I discovered when I was researching the topic was that GPs were (then) generally unaware of falanga and failed to diagnosis the aftermath of foot torture. Falanga and bastinado (which is more associated with S&M) are still frequently used as corporal punishment or pleasure respectively. The practice is based in Middle Eastern culture and not considered cruel or demeaning purse. Foot beating is also a pernicious torture which continues to be prevalent.

    toeslayer
     
  12. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Re: Foot pain following torture

    Clinical performance diagnosing alleged exposure to falanga--a phantom study.
    Top-Pedersen ST, Matteoli S, Wilhjelm JE, Amris K, Bech JI, Christensen R, Danneskiold-Samsøe B.
    Torture. 2009;19(1):19-26.
     
  13. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
  14. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Google Scholar search results for falanga
     
  15. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    The latest issue of Torture has the full text as pdf's of these papers:

    Vascular response to ischemia in the feet of falanga torture victims and normal controls--color and spectral Doppler findings.
    Torp-Pedersen S, Amris K, Holm CC, Kønig M, Prip K, Danneskiold-Samsøe B.
    Torture. 2009;19(1):12-8.
    Clinical performance diagnosing alleged exposure to falanga--a phantom study.
    Top-Pedersen ST, Matteoli S, Wilhjelm JE, Amris K, Bech JI, Christensen R, Danneskiold-Samsøe B.
    Torture. 2009;19(1):19-26.
    The epidemiology of falanga--incidence among Swedish asylum seekers.
    Edston E.
    Torture. 2009;19(1):27-32.
    Long-term consequences of falanga torture--what do we know and what do we need to know?
    Amris K, Top-Pedersen ST, Rasmussen OV.
    Torture. 2009;19(1):33-40.
    The diagnostic value of clinical examination after falanga--a pilot validation study.
    Amris K, Rasmussen OV, Baykal T, Lök V.
    Torture. 2009;19(1):5-11.
     
  16. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Self-reported activity in tortured refugees with long-term sequelae including pain and the impact of foot pain from falanga - a cross-sectional study.
    Prip K, Persson AL, Sjölund BH.
    Disabil Rehabil. 2010 Jun 8. [Epub ahead of print]
     
  17. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Persistent Pain in Survivors of Torture: A Cohort Study.
    Williams AC, Peña CR, Rice AS.
    J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010 Jul 31. [Epub ahead of print]
     
  18. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

  19. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
  20. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
    1
    Sensory functions in the foot soles in victims of generalized torture, in victims also beaten under the feet (falanga) and in healthy controls -- A blinded study using quantitative sensory testing.
    Prip K, Persson AL, Sjölund BH.
    BMC Int Health Hum Rights. 2012 Dec 29;12(1):39.
     
Loading...

Share This Page