The Feet Part 2:
So last time we talked about what makes up your feet and to put it bluntly, why I think orthotics are bad.
Today we’re going to chat about how the foot actually works and things that I think you can do to get your footsies up and running again.
Let’s go over the dynamics of the foot, and for any of fellow physical therapists reading this and ready to jump on my mistakes just remember this isn’t written for you. I want this to be accessible.
So I’d say that there are two primary movements of your foot and they are supination and pronation. If you’ve been to a running store recently and gone through a gait mechanics evaluation you may have come out saying, “I pronate.”
Throw away your running shoes immediately and stick to spin class you god damn pronator.
The reality is that we all supinate and we all pronate, it’s just a matter of to what extent.
Now it took me a while to get this all the way back in PT school so don’t worry if it doesn’t stick right away.
Think of your foot as having two basic functions. The first of which is to come in contact with the ground. More so than any other part of your body, the foot is always, and I do mean always, connecting you to your environment. Now let’s imagine for a moment that we are way back in the days of early man where we didn’t have Nike telling us to just do it. Instead we just…….. Did it……… see what I did there?
Well without shoes, we had to have a dynamic point of first contact with the ground. Enter the feet. I had a professor in college who used to say “when the foot hits the ground, everything changes.” And that’s got to be true.
When the foot hits the ground, we see the adaptability of our body in full form. We can slip into the sand, curl onto a rock or cushion the blow of the asphalt.
We do this through pronation. During pronation, the 26 bones of the foot splay out and create space so that the foot can dynamically adapt to the surface that you are walking on. Without pronation, your foot would operate in the same way that a peg leg does, and you can see how that rigidness would travel all the way up from the floor to the trunk.
The second function of your foot is propulsion. After you’ve adjusted to ground that you are stepping on, the foot goes through a series of motions to lock the bones into place so that you might have a strong foundation for your muscles to effectively push you forward. If the bones were to remain splayed as you tried to push, it would be like firing a cannon from a canoe.
So if you’ve been told that you pronate or that you supinate, that doesn’t really tell the whole story. It’s not a matter of doing one or the other, but a matter of doing them at the correct time.
Dr. Kevin Davi D.P.T, MetaTouch Body Balance