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#Building Better Humans

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    Your shoes are ruining your feet!

    One of the worst things you can do is put shoes on children at too young an age. Our feet are one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies with only hands and genitals being more sensitive. The feedback loop from the sensory receptors in our feet to the brain create neural pathways that enable children to develop movement patterns that are required for the basics of life. We have 2 arms and 2 legs and the rest of our musculoskeletal system works to maintain the effectiveness, the function, of these limbs. The patterns once learned serve humans in many ways, obviously sport is one but it’s certainly not limited to recreation.

    So if you shut down that development process watch your child stumble around like a newborn foal! And forever struggle to develop and improve agility, sprinting, gait, lunging and squatting to just address the basics.

    Function is a word I am using frequently in my posts. We do so many things to disrupt basic human function. There’s a reason your Mum would tell you to stand upright and pull your shoulders back. This is posture and in terms of function having good posture is a further starting point for active joints and effective movement patterns.

    Putting shoes on children and interrupting the development of posture and movement patterns is not going to serve your child through life.

    Furthermore our feet are essentially springs with the arch coiling and uncoiling as we engage in dynamic activity and to set these springs in motion for a lifetime of proper human anatomical function you MUST allow them to develop –

    Shoes that “support” arches are doing a disservice to correct human anatomical development and therefore function and on top of that, make orthotics manufacturers millions of dollars every year! When they should not be!

    Arch support in shoes is not the only problem footwear creates.

    “Tilting” the plane of our feet by wearing shoes that lift our heels, the most extreme example being high-heels shuts down function of our achilles –

    In the diagram above the (rather odd but it was the best I could do) pic of the heels, “1” shows the lift or tilt at the heel and “2” the impact of the tilt at the achilles compared to no lift at “3” and an unrestricted achilles at “4”.

    The pictures above illustrate the lift in heels of commercial running shoes.

    The point of these pics is to illustrate that proper function is beng seriously hampered by the shoes we wear and not only for sport but every day wear of some shoe types will result in chronic issues that only present over a long period of time. Just like performing a squat badly for a few years may result in chronic lower back issues wearing shoes with a higher lift at the heel than the front of the shoe will restrict achilles function and then quite probably ankle mobility. A lot can wrong after that and usually in the knees or hips but possibly the lumbar as well – the human musculoskeletal system is a single, homogenous unit that operates in a finely tuned chain, any interruption at any point in the chain will result in malfunction presenting itself usually at another point. Soreness and pain that refer in your body are located back at the origin and how physiotherapists are able to pinpoint causations of injury. It’s very interesting stuff!

    The title of my post is shoes can be a massive problem if used too early in a child’s functional development and even as adults we can make bad choices that will result in big issues.

    At high school in New Zealand I was changing for a game of rugby and sitting next to one of my mates who was from Fiji. As he removed his school shoes and socks I was shocked to see how developed his feet were – his toes were spread like fingers and his feet were huge! We talked about how he rarely wore shoes growing up and even at that age after school the shoes were off and he was doing everything bare footed. Years later the significance of that discussion has dawned on me, islanders like Fijians, Tongans, Samoans can be amazingly talented sportspeople and a lot of that attributed to their amazing movement patterns that have been developed from an early age.

    We’re all creatures of nature and yet some of us follow sometimes such completely opposite natural behaviours – running on the sand in running shoes as an example. To me that’s craziness but so many will do it much to the detriment of maximal function!

    So let your child develop his or her feet as free from restrictive shoe wear for as long as possible. And for you try to cut down on high heel lift shoes and let your feet rediscover their freedom to work as intended! Proper function will result and less injuries further up the chain will occur.

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    darren@3TRUTHSFitness.com

    #Building Better Humans

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      Your shoes are ruining your feet!

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