Usually, I would have reveled in the poetry of it all, taken flight and soared. Except today, I don’t. Because all I want is to be back on my feet after a nasty foot and ankle sprain.
I took a seemingly harmless tumble after missing the stairs because I was engrossed with my iPhone while walking (I vow never to repeat this).
As I diligently R.I.C.E., I am reminded once again of how we much we take our feet for granted – until they don’t function!
The foot has two important functions: weight bearing and propulsion. These functions require a high degree of stability. In addition, the foot must be flexible, so it can adapt to uneven surfaces.
The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. They are our shock absorbers and literally propel us. But just how much attention do we give to our feet? Most likely, we are more attracted to working our glutes, hamstrings and quads. Yet, our feet are our true foundation.
Much like our more familiar sense like taste, smell and touch, we also have a “missing sense” called “proprioception”. Proprioception is how our body takes information from our muscles, joints, nerves etc to let us know where we are, and this causes our bodies’ reactions to stimuli. For example, when we sense the floor is slippery, we thread carefully. In my case of a sprained left foot and ankle, I limp.
As humans, most of our proprioception is gained from the soles of our feet. Our feet are the gatherer of information from the ground and a messenger of sort to transmit energy and movement up into our ankles, knees, hips and into the spine, all the way to the head.
Sensitivity and awareness of foot position declines with age and more interestingly, “footwear impairs foot position awareness in both young and old”!
More on footwear later. For now, try working BAREFOOT once in a while, if you haven’t already!
Or if you find yourself in Tucson this summer, attend Pilates classes at Fletcher Pilates Conference “Shared Traditions” like “Walk the Talk” by fellow Fletcher Pilates teacher, Jenna Zaffino.
Source: Proprioception and stability: foot position awareness as a function of age and footwear, Robbins S, WakedE, McClaran J, 1995.