Feet Do More Than Hold You Up!

By Trevor Chetcuti on 6 Jun 2014
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Often, feet are an overlooked aspect of our life. To most, feet are simply the support system that assists us to walk and stay upright. The only time we tend to pay attention to them is when things start to go wrong.

With the recent obsession of social running, fun runs and triathlons, many people are starting to become aware of the need to prevent damage to their feet. This latest craze has opened up a huge market for many companies trying to cash in on the growing market of individuals wanting some form of guidance in regards to appropriate footwear.

The two most significant buzz words that have been thrown around are support and cushioning.

Whilst many believe that injury if less likely to occur if there is more cushioning under one’s feet, there are very few studies that indicate whether this is true.

“Countless athletes over the years suffer injuries as a result of poorly trained sales people trying to find shoes that completely eliminate healthy pronation in athletes.”

Accordingly, another reason as to why this doesn’t seem to be the case, is that cushioning under the heel tends to absorb shock allowing higher impact on the heel to be well tolerated. This tends to encourage runners to hit the ground harder and land more on their heel rather than on the mid/forefoot.

Support is Another Controversial Issue

The majority of people pronate when they walk or run. In simple terms, pronation involves the inner aspect of the foot dropping towards the floor on impact.

Whilst “over-pronation” can result in damage, pronation is actually a method of absorbing and dissipating shock. I’ve seen countless athletes over the years suffer injuries as a result of poorly trained sales people trying to find shoes that completely eliminate healthy pronation in athletes.

Our feet are more than biomechanical supports. There are countless neurological pathways that are activated when our feet touch the ground. In fact, TMJ pain and headaches have even been linked to poor foot function, especially of the first toe.

In addition, the sensation we feel when our feet touch the floor helps stimulate our nervous system. Removing this function, especially in developing children, may possibly alter neurological development and function.

Adequate Footwear is Essential

Good footwear allows the foot to behave like it was originally designed to do. We need to be able to feel the floor and the foot needs to be able to move like it was originally intended to. This requires footwear to have thin, flexible and flat soles.

Many people will know this type of footwear as minimalist or zero drop footwear. But neither of these terms is actually correct. Many minimalist shoes lack the flexibility required of a sole, whilst most zero drop footwear is actually still very cushioning.

“The sensation we feel when our feet touch the floor helps stimulate our nervous system. Removing this function, especially in developing children, may possibly alter neurological development and function.”

With this in mind, feeling the ground is essential for in order for the foot to function. Having adequate footwear for work, formal occasions or running should always meet this criterion. If you’re not sure where you can find such footwear,  take a look at the Vivo Barefoot range of kids, lifestyle and work shoes at their, website.

Also, take a look at this great little video  on foot development in kids. And if you’re planning on running the Melbourne Marathon in just a few months’ time and are not sure where to start, have a look at this informative article on footwear and running technique.

 

About the Author

Dr Trevor has a passion for helping people that goes beyond what most people expect. He has a knack for getting to issues quickly and an amazing knowledge for all things health and wellbeing. With extensive study in areas such as Physiology, Nutrition, Supplementation, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro Emotional Technique and Chiropractic, Dr Trevor's skills at working with a wide range of health and performance issues have become widely respected.

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