“The further humans stray from what they were naturally selected to do…the more their health suffers.” 

An entire industry has been built on trying to treat and/or “prevent” foot pain and dysfunction in humans. We are constantly being told that our feet need ‘support,’ and our arches need to be ‘maintained.’ Products abound with promises of decreased pain and increased comfort (soft shoes, athletic shoes, orthotics, etc.). The problem is however that the ‘cures’ that are offered are to a large extent contributing to the cause.

It is thought that the evolution of Homo Sapien bipedalism began approximately 4.2 million years ago. In contrast, the first shoes are believed to have been used only 10 thousand years ago (by the most generous estimation). What does this fact tell us? From an evolutionary perspective, footwear was invented only a moment ago!

Therefore:

“Shoes were NOT part of the evolutionary process” 

….TRAIN YOUR FEET!! 

 Tips, Facts, and Questions:

– Orthotics do not prevent your arch from ‘dropping’…no matter who made them, or what they are made out of

– If you have children, DO NOT allow them to wear shoes when it isn’t necessary (at home, playing in the yard, etc). The more the foot is challenged to function, the more it adapts to those challenges…and the better it functions.

– Encourage your kids to pick things up with their feet. This will build foot strength, dexterity, mobility, and function….all of which will contribute the longevity.

– Socks dampen the sensory feedback information that your foot is ‘collecting’ from the ground…this in turn will likely decrease the sensitivity of the feedback system over time.

– Did you ever wonder why if you have a knee, shoulder, or back problem, therapists manually treat the problem…and then assign exercises to improve the function of the body part….yet if you have a foot problem, many simply give you an orthotic (aka. a brace)? What would happen if we treated back pain this way?

– Having ‘dropped arches’ is not a diagnosis. Many of the worlds best functioning athletes have ‘dropped arches.’ Further, there are many, many examples of people with flat feet who never have foot pain or dysfunction. Static position of anatomy is much less important than how the anatomy moves.

– I have yet to see a plantar fasciitis patient in my clinic who had the ability to control toe/foot movement.

– There is a warranted fear in the manual medical community that wearing a back brace will lead to the muscles of the low back weakening over time due to disuse. Why do we think that the feet would not respond the same way to orthotics?

– Barefoot training is a PRIVILEGE …not a right. If you have been wearing supportive shoes all of your life, and then decide at 35 to just start wearing ‘barefoot’ shoes…you will get injured.

– If you are prescribed orthotics for a foot condition…your first goal should be to train your foot in order to get out of them asap.

Your feet are the first, and best functioning ‘shoes’ you will ever own….and if you care for them, they will last your entire life.

For those who haven’t seen it, here is the link to a youtube video that I posted a while ago that discusses this further and demonstrates some BASIC intrinsic foot activation strategies (this is by no means an extensive list of drills…it is just a starting point):