I am the bearer of weight and the facilitator of locomotion. I have 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles and tendons. I am Fiona’s foot and this is the path that I tread.
Just like the arches in a bridge, we have 3 arches which help to distribute Fiona’s weight evenly across us. These arches are maintained by our interlocking bones, ligaments and muscles. Although Fiona does not notice her arches, the slight mobility of them when she walks or runs makes movement economical and allows her to move on uneven ground. Lots of strain on the tendons and ligaments within me can result in fallen arches or flat feet which can cause problems.
I can move in many different ways, which allows Fiona to quickly adapt to uneven terrain and act as a stable propeller, allowing Fiona to dance at a club on a Saturday night. Fiona never really has to think about me, I am completely reactive when she is moving and act to stop her falling over when standing.
The pattern of walking is also referred to as gait. As Fiona’s heel strikes the ground I act as a shock absorber and begin to rotate. Pronation is the movement that I make when I roll inwards flattening my arches. This is key to prevent Fiona getting painful knees, hips or lower back. As her leg rotates I begin to supinate (opposite of pronation) and my arch gets higher, this is necessary to make me more rigid so I can act as a lever to propel Fiona forward to go and chat to that boy.
Fiona usually wears heels on a night out. It is quite a shock for me as my toes become squashed. This angle is very uncomfortable and is forcing Fiona to rotate her pelvis forward, stick her bum out and slump her shoulders forward. Her arches are no longer needed in the high heels and results in shock forces, from walking, being transferred through the ankle into the knee and hip. The change in muscle movements of the calf and thigh muscles, due to the hyperextension of the foot, activates the fight or flight reflex. This leaves Fiona feeling unstable, insecure and excessively cautious.
When Fiona puts on her favourite trendy trainers and my function is compromised. I feel less stable and connected to the ground. The shoes make the ground feel flat to me and as a result the connections from Fiona’s brain to me don’t continue to develop and leave me vulnerable to injury. So walking around without your shoes can make me stronger and happy!
I am very important to Fiona (although she doesn’t always remember). I allow her to run around with her sports team, bust some moves on the dance floor and many, many other things. So look after your feet, you rely on them far more than you think.