Kicking our anatomy series off with feet. Sweaty, stinky, worn out feet. I don't have a problem with feet but I know people that do. A problem like, don't get your feet near me, feet are gross kind of problem. Whether you like them or not they are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to how we hold the rest of our body. Feet are freaking important even if you are freaked out by them.
Our feet are made of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles (Medical News Today). The 26 bones are divided into tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges (no relation to Regina Phalange). Think of working your way from the ankle or back of the foot forward. The Tarsals are the ankle (which we'll talk about more next week), the heel, and five bones that form the arch in the middle of the foot. If you want all the names feel free to check out Medical News Today's article on Foot Bones. The metatarsals connect the tarsals and the phalanges. Think of them like five bridges from your arch to your toes. Lastly we have the phalanges, or your toes. Each toe has a few phalange bones identified from the back of your foot to the front (from your ankle moving closer to your toe). When we are closer to our body, in the case our ankle, it is referred to as proximal (proximal means near). When we are farther from our body, we call it distal (think distal is distance if that helps).
The craziest part of the foot for me is the 33 joints! This is the part of our body that brings us stability and it has 33 joints! Can we just give it up for our feet for a minute! The strength and stability our feet have to carry us ALL.DAY.LONG. To correct our footing when we take a weird step, slip, lose our balance. It's honestly quite amazing.
Looking at the joints in our feet we can have flexion, extension, supination, pronation, rotation. inversion, eversion, abduction, adduction. We aren't going to break all these down but feel free to do more research. Today I want to spend time focusing on where we should distribute our weight distribution in our feet. Our feet are the first point of contact in the floor when standing and usually how we ground to the earth.
From a standing or sitting position, take notice of your feet. Awareness is always the best place to start. Noticing where you are placing your weight. I'll often have clients transfer their weight front and back, side to side and around in a circle on their feet so they can feel weight transfer then returning to where they typically hold their weight. Now, focus your weight between the ball of your foot (inside and outside) as well as your heel. In a study by P R Cavanagh, M M Rodgers, A Iiboshi weight distribution was determined to be 60% in the heel, 8% in the midfoot , and the forefoot 28%. If you've done some quick math you can see only 4% of the weight is in the toes.
Aside from bringing your weight into alignment front to back and side to side it's important to note that only 4% is held in the toes. Even when balancing we want to try avoiding gripping with the toes or crunching the toes. Instead try to think of spreading the toes. A wider base gives more support. When we grip or crunch with out toes we create a smaller base and place strain on our toes they are not meant to carry.
Lastly, take care of them! Maybe we foam roll and stretch our legs, arms, hips, glutes but rarely to we work and recover our feet when we spend SO much time beating them up. Find a few things you can build in to your routine during the day. Maybe when you brush your teeth in the morning or you're waiting for your morning coffee you roll your foot on a golf ball or something similar. Or maybe during all those virtual meetings you do some gentle massage or stretching on your toes and bottom of your foot. Check out some of Medical News Today's suggestions.
I hope you learned something helpful about our amazing feet in this first issue of anatomy. Next week, ankles. Ever sprained one? Let me know in the comments. I'd also love to hear how your weight distribution and foot care is going.