The human foot is a combined structure of base and lever, supporting and balancing the body’s weight while standing, as well as raising and moving the body forward when it is in motion. Our feet works whole day, whether we stand, play, run, or walk, and in the process they become the most affected part of our anatomy.
Parts of the Foot
The foot is composed of 26 skeletal bones held together by Muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The foot has 32 Muscles and tendons. Muscles of the foot and leg balance the body and control the Levers. The Muscles in the leg provide power for the foot.
Tendons are strong inelastic "ropes" that usually connects muscle to bone. They keep the dynamic balance and shape of the foot.
An architect is a series of bones forming a rigid, curved structure but held together by ligaments. When pressure or weight is applied to the arch it tends to spread apart, but the ligaments, which do not give away under pressure, hold it firmly in place. The foot has a main arch along the inside of the foot and three lesser arches , the metatarsal arch across the ball of the foot, the long outer arch down the outside of the foot and a short under the rear arch of the foot.
The foot has 109 ligaments that serve as hinges to keep the bones and joints together. They are bands of "ropes". They are fibrous and strong but less elastic than Muscles.They maintain the static form of the foot.
Distribution of weight is concentrated upon six basic points of support provided by the bone framework. The heel bone takes about half the weight. Any abnormalities of the foot structure which upset the normal distribution of weight bearing will cause inconvenience and discomfort.
The function of the toes is to grip and clamp the feet while walking on the surface. They give final propulsion as the foot completes a step by shifting weight to the other foot. Although the big toe carries part of the body weight with each step, no weight rests on the big toe as the body stands. The toes gripping tendency helps to maintain balance and aid propulsion.
Growth of the Human Foot
The foot of a newborn child has only one bone. The rest of the foot is made up of cartilage. When a child reaches an age of 3 years most of the cartilage becomes bone .By age 6 all the bones have taken shape but still some are partly composed of cartilage.
The growth of the human foot comes in spurts. Studies shows that during the first ten years of a child’s life, the foot grows about one-half inch a year. Between the age of 10 and 20 the yearly growth rate slows down considerably, with maturity of growth takes place between the age of 19 and 20.
Be warned, even at a late stage of development, incorrect posture, poor walking and incorrect shoes can still destroy the joint alignment of the foot structure and the bones themselves.
General Foot Types
Normal / Neutral
Normal or neutral feet tend to roll off the centre of the Forefoot (front part of the foot). Any type of shoe is appropriate except shoes designed specifically for certain foot or foot disorders.
High Arched or Rigid
A high Arched or rigid foot has a limited range of motion and does not ABSORB SHOCK WELL. AS A RESULT THEY REQUIRE SHOES WITH MAXIMUM CUSHIONING BUT NO MOTION CONTROL PROPERTIES BECAUSE THE FEET NEED ALL THE MOBILITY THEY CAN GET.
Supinated feet roll off the outside of the Forefoot. Supinated feet can get with more Forefoot cushioning and flexibility. You need more cushioning if your feet are often sore or have many blisters or calluses on the bottom.
Pronation is a motion which accentuates the normal action which occurs when the foot rolls from the outside of the heel to the inside, transferring weight forward from heel-strike to push off. There are many things which are built in a running shoe to decrease the side to side motion, or Pronation. For example,a straight last increases heel stability. A substantial arch support prevents the foot from rolling to the inside during push off. In the sole, the firm fit of a heel cup (rigid portion at back of heel shoe that supports) can be constructed to absorb shock.
Runners with flat feet generally ’overpronate’ (accentuated Pronation). They need excellent rearfoot (back of the foot) control. A straight last can offer more support. A firm midsole will help reduce the flat foot’s "natural" tendency to pron.
CARING FOR YOUR FEET
Wear footwear that supports the foot properly, thus reducing the chances of injury.
Choose footwear made of natural materials which help your feet to breathe..
Vary your heel heights from day to day, one-day wearing low heels, and the next day slightly higher heels.
For everyday use, keep heel heights to about 2cm.
Consider wearing shoes with a strap or lace over the instep rather than slip-ons. This will stop your foot from sliding forward, a bit like a seatbelt in a car.
Get a foot massage once in a while, which is extremely relaxing. Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your lotion for a sensational treat for your feet.
Whenever you get your feet wet, make sure to dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
When you go out in the sun wearing sandals, make sure to apply a sunscreen on your feet, just like the rest of your exposed body parts.
Scrub your feet, especially the heels, with a foot scrubber on a regular basis. It will help remove the dead cells and make you feet softer.
To keep you feet dry and odour free, make use of products like foot powders, foot sprays and specially designed insoles.
The skin on the soles of your feet does not have any oil glands to soften them. So use a good moisturizer every day. Every night put a generous amount of cream on your feet before you go to bed and then pull on a pair of cotton socks.
Whenever you are applying moisturizer or cream on your feet, avoid the area between the toes, if cream sits in the crevices it can waterlog the skin and make it more susceptible to infection.
Always cut nails straight across and then smooth the edges with an emery board. For ease in cutting toenails, trim them after your bath or shower.
Avoid walking barefoot, as your feet are more prone to injury and infection.
Interesting facts - Did you know that..?
The weight of shoes increases twofold when walking, six times when running
Slim people's feet get longer during the day, overweight people's feet get wider
The feet size changes by as much as 10 % during the day, that is the equivalent of one shoe size
Children's feet grow continually and must be measured every three months
Girls' feet grow until 14 years of age, boys' until 16 years of age
During an average person's life, the feet's sole flexes, stretches and contracts 300 million times, yet remains fully functional
An average person takes about 10,000 steps a day, walks about 3,200 km per year and walks a distance corresponding to going around the globe for four and half times during their life
Each sole must bear a pressure of about 500 tonnes every day
No two people have the same feet, not even the opposite feet of the same person are identical. Each person's footprints are individual and remain the same for their entire life.