This title may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but it really isn't. If our feet are not healthy; if they are not strong; our ability to do the things we want to do and the things we need to do decrease drastically. Weak feet, numb feet, and sore feet can prevent proper gait patterns and can increase our risk of falling. Some interesting numbers below:
36,000- The number of falls ending in death in 2020 among folks over 65.
3 Million The number of Emergency Room visits in 2020 from falls in those over 65.
35%- The reduction in Toe Flexor Strength in the older population compared to younger adults.
30-50 Yards- Distance added to a golf drive when the big toe is at optimal strength.
26- The number of bones in the foot.
33- The number of joints in the foot.
100- The number of muscles, tendons and ligaments in the foot.
It stands to reason that the healthier our feet, the better we can get around to do the things we want to do and need to do. A very important part of keeping our feet healthy is looking at the shoes we wear. As we do this, I want to challenge you to keep an open mind, as many of these thoughts may go against current marketing and current medical practice.
First, lets take time to really think about what we think about the way to pain free feet.
Current medical care and general marketing promote the need for the following:
Highly Cushioned Heel
Rocker sole (rounded sole) to propel the foot forward.
Wide Sole to protect ankles.
Semi-Custom or Custom Orthotics
You may have been directed purchase a shoe like the one above by folks who have your best interest at heart. Does this not look like the epitome of greatness in a shoe!? Shoes like these check off every box of what we believe to be a great shoe.
To decrease the amount of force from heel strike.
Produce more forward motion compared to flat soled shoes.
Provide stabilization to prevent turned ankles.
Support the foot to keep arch lifted to reduce pain and also reduce pronation.
You will notice I didn't fill in the "Actual Result" Box for any of the features. That's for our Part 2!!! Until then, I want you to think about the shoes you are wearing.
Do your feet live in a passive environment or an active environment?
And does it make a difference?