“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”
–Leonardo Dí Vinci
Consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments, the human foot/ankle complex is the work of exquisite genius.
Like the rest of the body, our feet need exposure to correct stimulus and demand to keep them healthy, functional and performing their supportive duties. I can't stress how important correct musculoskeletal alignment of the feet and ankles on upward is for the overall health of the body.
I ALWAYS recommend bare foot training to my clients.
Not only do our feet give us sensory input about where our body is spatially, they also set the framework of how our pelvis balances and moves. The way we stand and move on our feet recruits different muscle lines up the leg into the pelvis.
How you use your feet and how your feet and ankles function has a direct influence on your core musculature and spinal health.
Foot health therefore, is imperative. Incorrect movements can cause problem in the spine and compensations and/or dysfunctions in the rest of the major load joints in the body.
Wearing shoes all day long casts the foot in a protective shell. Over time this can actually weaken our foot and leg muscles, and joint mechanics leaving them underdeveloped, imbalanced and prone to pain/injury.
Now to be CLEAR, I'm not saying be barefoot all the time. Footwear is essential for protection, safety, and security at times. However it is important to stimulate and exercise the foot in a more natural state on a regular basis.
Bare foot training performed in conjunction with postural therapy or restorative pilates, helps improve foot mechanics and how the foot communicates with the rest of your kinetic chain.
Going barefoot also enables us to feel the earth, judge movement, balance and perform with precision. It allows our feet to do what they are designed to do. Shoe inserts and padding distort the messages the body receives through the many nerve endings of the feet. The cushioning, support structures and forms of shoes do not allow the foot to communicate properly or or send the correct messages positioning information to the rest of the body.
In the article Walk Barefoot On the Grass and Let the Earth Energize Your Body, Naturopathic Medical Doctor, Mark Stengler discusses how going barefoot outdoors creates an opportunity to "earth" or "ground" ourselves with the natural electrical energy of the earth's surface.
"Research by electro physiologists and other medical experts suggests that the earth’s electrical energy may help protect and stabilize our body’s own electrical system, recharging, replenishing and, ultimately, healing us."
You can read the article for yourself, but I have to say I'm in agreement.
6 Benefits of Training in Bare Feet:
- Strengthens muscles in the feet and lower legs improving general foot health and reducing the risk of injury.
- Improves range of motion in ankles and feet allowing them to move more naturally.
- Stimulates neural function important to balance and agility. When in bare feet, thousands of neurological receptors in the feet send valuable information to the brain, improving balance and agility.
- Improves proprioception and body awareness – those same neurological receptors heighten body awareness, sending messages about body mechanics, form, and movement improving your posture and load joint mechanics.
- Eliminates the need for excessive shoe technology and heel lift insets designed to artificially align the pelvis and spine and improve posture. By correcting foot mechanics, we re-train our feet and postural muscles to distribute our bodyweight evenly across the foot bed, promoting proper foot mechanics, posture and spinal alignment.
- Allows the foot and body to move naturally and connect with the earth; as it is designed, which just simply FEELS GOOD.
Strengthening the muscles in the feet and lower legs improving general foot health and reducing the risk of injury. Are you ready to start bare foot training but not sure where to start?
No worries, we know what to do. Give us a call to set up your own individualized corrective exercise session. Remember, we're in this together, and I am here to help!
Posted on Fri, September 23, 2011
by Deb Preachuk filed under