Our feet are pretty amazing. Even during an action as simple as walking, the pressure sustained on our feet is about four times our body weight. They work hard for us, so it’s important to make sure we help them out too. Walking barefoot may feel great sometimes, but there are some important things to keep in mind.
Our bodies were not intended to constantly walk on the unnaturally hard, flat surfaces we have created. Our bodies developed to walk on the naturally soft, uneven surfaces such as sand or soft soil, and our “unnatural” footwear is merely an attempt to replicate these more natural surfaces. On natural surfaces, the ground absorbs the impact energy from our feet and conforms to our foot to provide even pressure distribution.
Barefoot walking is simply not an option for some people. Many factors must be considered, such as age, weight, injuries or diseases like diabetes. It takes a strong body to handle barefoot walking on a regular basis. When other conditions may already be compromising proper biomechanics, the additional challenge of barefoot walking can create new problems. Because most surfaces we travel upon have been rendered hard and flat, these complicating conditions will only increase the risk for doing harm.
Because we do not all have the luxury of moving to the beach and walking around barefoot all day, footwear is important. Find a certified expert that can provide a complimentary barefoot evaluation that provides a comprehensive assessment to ensure the proper footwear is selected for each individual’s needs. Getting the correct size, including the correct width, is the first step, but there are many factors to consider, such as paying attention to what happens to the foot as it moves from a non-weight bearing swing phase, through heel-strike, mid-stance and push-off.
Proper biomechanics are important not just for the comfort of our feet, but for the health of our entire body. Our feet serve as the foundation for our body, and neglecting the feet can cause damage up through our legs and back. Taking care of feet is taking care of the whole body.
Daniel Monson, CPed, is a certified pedorthist at Foot Solutions, in Plano, specializing in the use of footwear and supportive devices to address conditions that affect the feet. For more information, call 972-473-7249 or visit ComfortShoesAndOrthotics.com.