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Our Nemesis: Footwear

Each foot contains 33 joints and 20 muscles which provide cushioning, balance and spring with every step.

Why mess with this?

Take a moment to watch a pre-school aged child run, jump and play without fear. Notice how nimble and light they are on their feet? Rocks or rough terrain does not slow them down, that is of course, until they go to school and we put shoes on their feet.

Our feet are AMAZING! They are designed to feel, cushion and spring our way through life. Wearing big clumpy shoes on our feet all day long denies our feet the opportunity to work to their true potential.

The multi-billion dollar footwear industry has been wreaking havoc with our feet for a very long time now. The focus on fashion over function has seen the design of shoes that cause more harm than good!

So, if you must wear shoes (we understand that for the most part it is unavoidable) then here are some things to watch out for.

Things to avoid:

  1. Heel pitch
    Our heels are supposed to be on the ground, level with our forefoot. There is no reason why our heels should be elevated – unless of course we want to chronically shorten our calf muscles, tilt our pelvis forwards, switch our glutes off and place unnecessary stress on our knees, hip, back and neck. Unfortunately even the majority of our modern running shoes have a 12-14mm heel pitch!
  2. Tight toe box
    Our toes are designed to spread and move and grip. They are not supposed to be squished inside shoes all day rendering our intrinsic foot strength useless. Thanks to modern footwear, majority of our patients have no control over their toes (ie. pathway from toes to brain is just not working). That is until we have some footwear education and start toe yoga! Ask yourself: Would you wear a glove that does not fit your hand?
  3. Lots of cushioning and lots of support
    The 33 joints in each foot are designed to move and adapt to uneven ground, not to be locked up in rigid coffins all day long. The 20 muscles provide shock absorption and spring. Our feet are supposed to feel the ground and give us feedback. Spending too much time in highly cushioned and supportive shoes forbids our feet from functioning properly and leads to foot dysfunction.

Of course barefoot is best, but due to safety or work requirements this is not always possible, so the next best option allows our feet to function as closely as possible to being barefoot.

Look for the following:

  • Flat
  • Light
  • Flexible
  • Shape of human foot

Now for most of you who have been wearing clumpy, pointy, heeled coffins for a very long time it would be quite a change for your body to completely swap to barefoot and less supportive/cushioned shoes. Like everything, small changes are good. Start by going barefoot a bit more - hang the washing out barefoot, water the garden barefoot. Slip your footwear off at work more often (where possible).

Your work or school footwear is the most important footwear to consider – as you are most likely wearing them for the longest. What you wear out to dinner once in a blue moon will not affect your feet like the shoes you put on every day to go to work.

It is also important to keep in mind other variables such as your occupation, time spent on your feet, surfaces, body weight etc. It may not be achievable for you to be barefoot or in minimal shoes for long periods.

Due to modern footwear our feet have become stiff and weak, our calf muscles shortened. The best thing you can do for your feet is to reconsider your footwear and to train your feet to become the awesome structures they were designed to be. Talk to us about our ACTIVE FOOT FORMULA and start unleashing the true potential of your feet today!

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