Biomechanics of the foot

biomechanics of the foot

The health of your feet depends on the normal interaction between your toes & forefoot, mid-foot, and your heel & ankle. Foot disorders are frequently caused by abnormal biomechanics of your entire foot and can lead to other painful conditions of the pelvic, hips, or back if not properly treated.

A normal gait cycle includes ‘pronation’ and ‘supination’.  Pronation occurs after the heel strikes the ground and continues as your weight transfers to the forefoot. The foot tends to roll inward and the arch flattens; it flexes in order to absorb the
impact. Supination occurs when the heel starts to lift, a more rigid movement, propelling your body forward. Proper function of your feet and lower leg muscles and ligaments during pronation and supination facilitate a normal gait cycle and proper weight distribution while walking or running.

The Gait Cycle: A breakdown of each component

Three types of feet to know about

An imprint of your feet (simply dipping your feet in water and walking on a smooth surface) reveals one of three common shapes that help define the type of feet that you might have:

1. An exaggerated curve shape between the heel and toes usually indicates a high arch. Feet with high arches tend to be more rigid and less efficient at absorbing impact resulting in repeated or severe ankle sprain.

2. A rather straight “filled in” area under the arch between the heel and toes indicates a flat or collapsed arch. Low arches need support to prevent pain from arthritis and tendonitis of the feet and knees.

3. A shape somewhere in between the high arch and flat arch is considered neutral or normal. About 90% of feet are considered normal and are most efficient in absorbing impact and transferring your weight from the heel to toes. *3

“It has been well documented that foot problems increase with age. A European study found less that 3 percent of those over sixty have ‘normal
feet.’” *2

"There are over 250,000 sweat glands in your feet which excrete as much as a half-pint
of moisture per day under the stress of taking 8,000 – 10,000 steps per day. " *4