Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Foot is sturdy as an 3 flexible arches interlinked.

Arches at Holy Rosary Catholic Chapel, Chipita Park, CO.

God made our feet to be pinnacles of structural and functional engineering. Any cushioned shoe with a raised heal and/or upturned toe gets in the way of this beautiful design, hindering it, and forcing our bodies to work around it as if we're injured 9and indeed, we aften are because of these monstrosities on our feet, though we and the whole world too often blame running instead of the shoes). Here's the engineering marvel known as your foot.

We have a windlass mechanism which not only absorbs shock when we land on our forefoot, it actually stores and returns up to 18% of that energy to us in the form of propulsion. Run in cushioned shoes with a heel and you have to land heel first, completely negating this God given gift and abusing the heel and knees in the process. Some respond "but I NEED my cushion to run." Yes. You do. But you only have 1-2" of cushion when you run. I have about 30" of cushion if I need it. How? My knees bend however much they need to when my heel kisses the ground. The more weight on my heel, the more my knee bends. Usually this is only a few inches, but coming off a hill, it can be a lot more, though I've never maxed it out. (Tip o' the hat to Barefoot Ken Bob for this wonderful analogy!)

Our metatarsals (the bones behind our toes), form a flexible arch from behind our big toe to behind our little toe. This arch is meant to collapse, absorbing and dispersing the shock of running when we land our our forefoot or midfoot. Wear shoes that aren't wide enough in the ball of the foot, or run with a heel strike, and you don't get the benefit of this incredible arch.

Finally, our foot is made to pronate inward so our foot flattens out into the arch (What?! Isn't that a bad thing? The shoe companies would like you to think so). This helps dissipate shock and load the windlass mechanism. A healthy foot has a strong, flexable, supple arch and bone structure and moves in all kinds of ways you never knew about if your feet are trapped inside their cushioned prisons. Wear shoes with arch support and your arches become weak and aren't allowed to function as they were made.

In running, as in all things, God made us very good. Our challenge is to learn how we're made (and the world around us), how it works, and then what, if anything, we can or should do to co-create with God from there. Sick of trying to make your feet in Nike's image? Free them!

Plus 8 miles
Total Milage: 297.8

1 comment:

  1. Like an egg or sphere, arches are strongest under load - think of an arch made from play bricks- build one and knock it. It will fall. Put a load on the top and the keystone bears the weight and presses into the arch, making the entire structure much more stable. Knock it - it's much more stable.

    The easiest way to break the arch structure is to apply force from below, against the arch design - push the keystone up and the whole thing collapses.

    When you look at where orthotic arch supports 'support' your arches it seems a minor miracle your feet can support you at all with these pushing up from below.


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