Take a moment right now and take your shoes off... and your socks.
Now wiggle your toes and move your foot into every position you can possibly move it. Don't rush. Take your time and really explore all the different positions your foot can achieve.
The foot is an amazing, mechanically-adapted support that has evolved to give us the ability to function upright. With 52 different articulating surfaces, our feet have the ability to mold themselves to just about any surface we stand on. And once planted, the strength and mobility to be able to propel our entire body forward over any terrain.
Now while your shoes are still off, grab one of your shoes
Take the shoe in both hands, one at the toe box and one at the heel and try and move that shoe like you just moved your foot. Go ahead to try it now.
Oh, not as moveable as your foot, is it? Way less moveable in most cases.
So if our foot has the ability to move and adapt to just about any surface, and our footwear does not... What do you think the outcome of that scenario over time will be?
Weak feet, banged up knees, a pelvis, and back that are forced to move into positions not conducive to long-term joint and muscular health.
There are a number of reasons why a rigid shoe will lead to degenerative spinal, knee and pelvic conditions, and they all start with the the principle of "use it or lose it".
You may have heard of this principle when people refer to stretching and range of motion. When we don't constantly ask our body to move into positions, we will gradually start to loose the ability to move into those positions. As our muscles get weaker, our structure (both connective tissue and joints) will begin to change in response to the lack of movement.
The feet are no exception to this idea. Put your super flexible foot in a rigid shoe and over time you will lose the strength you once had in your feet.
And if that was not bad enough for your body, once those feet lose the ability to move, your body then has to look elsewhere to generate that motion you just took away.
What does that look like?
Imagine your shoes keep your arch from collapsing (which needs to happen for normal gate to occur). If you arch can not collapse, assume that the body needs that motion to come from somewhere else. Guess what joint is next up the line. Your knees! Your knee is a joint that does not take kindly to being asked to move in certain directions. Now some people's knees can take this stress... kind of... it's just that their hips get to help out. See, the hips are really good at compensating the way we need when our arches are over-supported, but then we see the back and neck issues.
So as you can see, it is a bit of a "trickle up" effect. And no part of your body wins other than your feet. And even that is questionable because you are dooming yourself to having weak feet that "need" inserts.
Now I know we didn't provide any answers in this post, but I want to ensure you that more is coming soon! I have a lot of experience dealing with clients who have worn inserts and will share the surprising results after working with us. Stay tuned!
Yours in health,