Foot thrashing, variously known as bastinado, falanga (phalanga), and falaka (falaqa), is a form of corporal punishment whereby the soles of the foot are beaten with an object such as a cane or rod, a club, a piece of wood, or a whip. It is also sometimes favoured as a form of torture because, although extremely painful, it leaves few physical marks, though evidence can be detected via ultrasound technology.
The prisoner may be immobilised before application of the beating by tying, securing the foot in stocks, locking the legs into an elevated position, or hanging upside-down. The Persian term falaka referred to a wooden plank which was used to secure the feet prior to beating.
Foot spanking is effective due to the clustering of nerve endings in the feet and the structure of the feet, with its numerous small bones and tendons. The wounds inflicted are particularly painful and take a long time to heal, rendering it a particularly abusive and vicious punishment.
This punishment has, at various times, been used in China, as well as the Middle East