Your feet are an exceptional piece of engineering, uniquely designed to support your bodyweight and function in such a way that allows you to walk and run across alternate surfaces at varying speeds in comfort and control. The feet comprise 26 bones each (52 in total), approximately 1/4 of all the bones in the adult body, and with the hands (which total 54 bones) are fully able to swiftly and sensitively adapt to the external environment. In addition, movement in the feet is enabled by a total of 33 muscles and their tendons (originating both within the foot and from the lower limb) through 31 joints and supported by over 100 ligaments.
Any one of these bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments in the feet can become damaged through:
- illness/pathology e.g. rheumatoid/osteo-arthritis or diabetes mellitus
- repeated episodes of low grade trauma e.g. walking and/or running in poorly fitting/inappropriate footwear or walking and running with a misalignment of the bony architecture within the feet and lower limbs
- a single episode of trauma such as a direct injury e.g. dropping a heavy object on the feet
If we suffer from any of the above, then the bony and soft tissues within our feet may have to work outside of their normal physiological limits of motion i.e. compensate to enable us to continue walking and running. These compensatory movements may result in soft tissues i.e. muscles, tendons and ligaments becoming overloaded with forces (arising from our bodyweight meeting the ground through our feet) that they are unable to tolerate resulting in damage to the structures with consequent pain.
It is not only your feet that can become damaged through the inability of the soft and bony tissues to tolerate the forces generated from standing, walking and running. Your ankle, knee, hip and lower back joints can also be affected. This is where the use of orthotics can help. Orthotics (from the Greek word – ortho, meaning to straighten or align) are in general medical appliances, usually made from thermo-plastics or foams that can be used to support, re-align, prevent or correct deformities, improving the function of soft tissues and bones within and around the body’s joints and limbs.
Pro-Nation Orthotics are cushioning, supportive foam and gel insoles that fit inside all kinds of footwear including training shoes and safety boots, helping the feet to reduce the potentially pain creating forces which go through them as they strike the ground during standing, walking and running.