Your feet play an incredibly important role. Most importantly, they are usually your first and only contact with the ground below you. When coming in contact with the ground below you they serve a dual function:
- “Loose bag of bones” – your foot must dissipate the forces placed on it from the weight you transfer on it and the ground reaction force from the hard surface pushing back. The many small joints in your feet all give a little, allowing your arch to lower in a controlled fashion and turning the foot into a loose bag of bones which acts as a shock absorber.
- “Rigid-Lever” – After your foot dissipates the forces placed on it, the second function is to transform back from a loose bag of bones to a rigid platform from which to push off of. Yet again, the small joints in the foot are called upon to line up in such a way that they become rigid enough to act as a lever to advance your body forward as you move to take your next step.
Note: When the arches of the feet are flat and overpronate, or when they are too rigid and stay arched, they essentially have a problem optimizing the back and forth transition from rigid lever to loose bag of bones.
In order to orchestrate the dual function of your feet, they each require:
- 107 ligaments
- 33 joints
- 26 bones (¼ of your body’s bones are in your feet!)
- 19 muscles
- > 4,000 nerve endings
It’s no wonder that foot problems are so common. 3 out of 4 Americans will experience a foot problem in their life. Problems with the feet are usually brought on by neglect and being unaware of proper foot care (e.g. poorly fitting shoes and unsupported arches).
If you’re experiencing foot pain, we’re here to help! Our foot and ankle exam consists of orthopedic tests, gait analysis, and palpation of the many different joints and structures of the foot. We can help determine general shoe recommendations based on your foot type, provide manual treatments for your foot pain, and let you know if you’re a candidate for a foot orthotic arch support.
“Foot Facts.” Foot.com, www.foot.com/foot-facts/.
Guidozzi, F. “Foot problems in older women.” Climacteric, 2017, pp. 1–4., doi:10.1080/13697137.2017.1373335.
©Center For Musculoskeletal Function 2017