The foot is a fascinating part of the human body; one reason is because there are 26 bones in the feet which make up one quarter of all the bones in our bodies. It’s a delicate part of our body and yet an incredibly strong and resilient part as well. These delicate bones are held together by muscles and ligaments that work in conjunction with the ankle. The state of our feet, whether they’re in good or bad condition, can have a direct effect on our knees, hips and back.
There are two bones in the big toe and three bones in the other toes made up of a base, a shaft and a head. These are known as the metatarsals. The talus bone is the bone that connects the foot to the ankle and and also has three parts; the head, neck and body. It is one of the larger bones in the foot and no muscle connects to it.
The calcaneous bone is the largest bone in the foot and forms the heel of the foot. It is also connected to the Achilles tendon and flexor muscles of the smaller toes. The Achilles tendon connects the heel and calf muscle which is one reason why doing calf stretches can have a positive effect on the entire foot. The Achilles tendon is essential for being able to stand on your toes and run and jump. The middle part of the foot is made up of a collection of bones that form the arch; the cuneiform bones, the cuboid bone and the navicular bone.
The purpose of the arches is to distribute the weight evenly, and so it only makes sense that if you have extremely high arches or extremely flat arches, various conditions can develop. Very flat arches, or commonly referred to as “flat feet” will often result in over-pronation, where the ankle rolls in and puts pressure on the inner part of the foot. This can ultimately cause problems such as bunions, calluses or chronic ankle instability.
There is also the plantar fascia is a large connective ligament that supports the arches of the feet and connects the heel bone to the toes. If it becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain primarily in the heel of the foot.
Most people don’t realize or think about the importance of keeping your feet healthy, strong and in good condition. In addition to stretches and taking calcium for bones, remember the shoes you wear also play a big part in the overall condition of your feet.
Ideally, walking barefoot is the best way to naturally strengthen your feet, tendons, and bones but not everyone can walk around day to day without wearing some form of closed toe shoe. Wearing comfortable, flexible shoes that also provide support for your feet is the first step in improving your foot health. Unfortunately, many shoe designers will focus only on providing style without comfort or support, or comfort without taking the desire for style into consideration.