The human foot combines mechanical complexity and structural strength for the rest of the body. The ankle serves as a foundation, a shock absorber and driving engine. The foot can sustain enormous pressure and provides flexibility and resiliency. It is crucial that we begin to realize the importance of the “roots” of the body.
The foot and ankle contain the most bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments than any other area of the body.
- 26 bones (One-quarterof the bones in the human body are in the feet.);
- 33 joints;
- more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments(Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones and ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones.); and
- a network of blood vessels, nerves, skin, and soft tissue.
There are 20 muscles in the foot that give the foot its shape by holding the bones in position and expand and contract to impart movement. The main muscles of the foot are:
- the anterior tibial, which enables the foot to move upward;
- the posterior tibial, which supports the arch;
- the peroneal tibial, which controls movement on the outside of the ankle;
- the extensors, which help the ankle raise the toes to initiate the act of stepping forward; and
- the flexors, which help stabilize the toes against the ground.
These components work together to provide the body with support, balance, and mobility. A structural flaw or malfunction in any one part can result in the development of problems elsewhere in the body, such as BACK PAIN and KNEE PAIN. From the lack of acknowledgment, maintenance and care of the foot and ankle, the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius) are greatly affected via tightness and dysfunction which causes a domino effect throughout the body. This complex area of the body deserves much attention.
The relationship between shoes and our feet
Before the invention of modern athletic shoe or running shoe, shoes did not gain much popularity. They were basic, flat and offered little support. All a good thing. With the introduction of modern day shoes came problems with our feet and ankles, along with structural problems of the rest of the body, one major issue being poor forward posture and even inflammation. We’ve been told to buy supportive shoes to help stabilize the body, however the direct opposite is happening because our brains can’t precisely recognize the solid ground beneath the shoe resulting in a loss of balance. There is a slight misconception. Go barefoot as much as possible and if not go for a minimalistic shoe with less support.
Flat feet and collapsed ankles
Because we don’t have direct connection with the ground, our feet our constantly trying to stabilize on our cushiony shoe. As a result, the foot and ankle becomes lazy and allows the shoe to do most of the absorbing rather than the actually foot and ankle. High arches are the ideal structural position for the base of the body. If the foot is flat or beginning to collapse towards the center of the body, practice striking the ground soft with the heel and rolling towards the outer half of the foot, leaving the arch off the ground. Furthermore, during exercise explore more ranges of motion through the ankle for better elasticity, more engagement of the upper leg, and decreased injury within the rest of the body.
A tree is only as strong as its roots, whereas a body is only as strong as its feet.