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Watch how your foot comes down


2015/2/27 10:55:46    Edit: Veilisr    View:


Have you ever watched a video of yourself walking or running? You should. It can give you important information about how you may be hurting your muscles and bones -- and also holding yourself back as an athlete.

Even before watching that video, you can get a clue by looking at the bottom of your shoes. They can tell you a lot about how your foot hits the road. Is the wear pattern uneven? Is part of the tread worn down on one side of the sole? If so, your foot may be coming down unevenly.

Compare the soles of both shoes to see if they match. If they don't, if the tread is more worn on one sole than on the other, you may have one leg doing more work. That will eventually lead to injury. Over time, it will actually pull your bones out of place, actually distorting your skeleton.

Background: The factors I'm addressing here are PRONATION and SUPINATION. Pronation is the normal and natural way the foot rolls slightly inward as it hits the ground. The movement acts as a shock absorber when your foot lands with all the weight of your body on it, and is mainly a function of the arch of the foot. Supination is the opposite foot movement; the normal way a foot rolls slightly outward as it pushes off to take a step.

The problems start when a person walks or runs with foot movement outside the normal range of pronation or supination. When that happens, the landing shock from each step is not absorbed, and is transferred up to the joints and bones of the ankle and lower leg, or the foot rolls too far outward and puts heavy stress on the muscles that stabilize the ankle. Instead of a neutral foot plant when walking or running, with only slight movement inward or outward, the problem-causing movement is excessive. The result is repeated stress injuries, with more serious effects over time as the skeleton itself adapts to the imbalance of this foot range of motion.

By watching a video of yourself taken from both the front and the back, you can see how your foot moves with each step; you'll be able to analyze your gait to see if you're landing with the foot obviously bent too much to the inside or the outside. You can also get a rough, though not totally accurate, idea of how your foot lands with an examination of the sole of your shoes. If you walk or run with the desirable neutral gait, the tread wear will be even on both the inside and outside of the shoe. If the tread is more worn on the inside, it indicates you may be over-pronating. A wear pattern tilting to the outside can indicate over supinating. While this will show on the front of the sole, it's usually more obvious on the heel. If your shoes, especially your athletic shoes, shoe more wear on one side of the heel than the other, you've got more than a clue that you need to balance the way your foot hits the ground.

There are two ways to deal with the problem: special support shoes, or self-correction. While you can purchase athletic and other shoes with specific cushioning designed to guide your foot to the proper landing position, that doesn't do much to build the muscles or archway that can guide your foot to land with a neutral stance. If your arch isn't a medical problem, and you are able to learn the muscle control of how to hold your foot without depending on the crutch of shoe cushioning, you'll genuinely solve the problem. That way you can stride with a neutral gait no matter what shoe you're wearing -- -or even if you're going barefoot.

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