Why don’t your feet get the credit they deserve?
A foot is a very complex part of our body that contains 28 bones, 33 joints, and countless muscles and tendons. It’s what directly connects us to our surroundings with every step.
Humans take around 2 million steps each year with the foot having to absorb 1 to 1,5 times the bodyweight each time.
This is why your feet should be well taken care of and appreciated.
A foot plays a vital role in the gait cycle during which a lot of single-leg balance is needed. 70% of time is spent on one leg when walking and the foot needs to function very well and balance the rest of the body on different surfaces and during most activities.
Even when standing, the feet and calves are playing a vital role in supporting the body weight and keeping your center of gravity stable.
The feet are also very adaptable which enables them to compensate for imbalances in other parts of the body, such as very commonly seen leg discrepancies.
What do you do with your feet?
For most of us, our feet are confined to narrow or small shoes that don’t give them enough space to function properly and do what they were intended to do.
Absorb shock and make us efficient walkers and runners.
With every step, we receive a recoil from the ground due to the elastic properties and springiness of our feet. For these mechanisms to function, however, the feet need to be strong and as close to barefoot walking as possible.
Shoe manufacturers have designed footwear in a way that the feet need to adjust to the footwear instead of the footwear allowing the feet to move freely within the shoe. This has been mostly due to fashion trends and optical reasons and has caused many individuals pains and deformities of their feet.
In most individuals, many of the intrinsic muscles of the foot are rarely challenged and do not contribute to their functionality.
What can you do to strengthen your feet?
The next time you buy footwear, ensure that the shoes are wide and long enough that your foot has sufficient space. The shoes should also be flat so that the heel and forefoot are level.
Additionally, it is helpful to practice standing on one foot, for example when brushing your teeth or putting on socks and shoes.
To strengthen the feet it is also worth trying to spread your toes and when possible picking up small objects from the ground using your feet.
All these measures incorporated into your daily routine will help you stay more active and healthy.