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Foot Arch Is The Real Arch

The principle of an arch is a curved structural form and self-support. That's how the right foot arch should be constructed and weighted down. Then the foot arch can strengthen itself. However, the regular shoes force the toes and foot to unnatural positions and push the foot arch to another angle. That's why the foot weakens, collapses, and loses its functionality.

The human foot has two arches - longitudinal and transverse

The principal function is the support of all above the arch - our body. When our foot arch doesn't work well as it should, everything else collapses. You can develop problems with your heels, ankles, knees, hip joints, lower back, cervical spine, or cause loose abdominal muscles.

The strength of the arch is determined by its active use

If the shoes, our style of walking, or posture don’t allow our arches to function well, they weaken together with other body parts. If we weigh down the foot arch, it will strengthen and develop. The foot arch will gain strength due to the active engagement of the toes - during standing, walking, and overall movement.

  • The arch of the foot is the support of the whole body
  • Right arch functioning = active engagement of the toes
    • The big toe and its engagement are crucial for longitudinal arch
    • Perceptive toes are essential for transverse arch  
  • Support from below is not beneficial to longitudinal arch - shaped insole 
  • The biggest ills of regular footwear
    • a raised toe box
    • an elevated heel
    • a restricted toe box
    • a non-flexible sole

Longitudinal arch

The longitudinal arch is bound to the big toe!

The big toe is the fundamental support element of our foot, and we can't forget to use it in this way!

If the big toe is located in its natural position (prolongation of the instep bones), the power of support (leaning against the toe) affects the muscles of the longitudinal arch. It activates the foot arch and starts to fulfill all its functions. It arches and puts the ankle in the proper position, aligns the knees and hips joints, activates the muscles of the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles, and relaxes the lower back and cervical spine. The foot has an "organizing skill", so everything above the arch can compose itself!

On the other hand, if the big toe rotates inwards to the other toes, the transport of the powers to the longitudinal arch is interrupted, leading to its malfunctioning.

We can often see photos of children standing this way, and the parents can't cope with it. If we free the big toe, everything will "correct" itself. For adults, it is similar.

The underneath support isn’t beneficial for the longitudinal arch because the foot arch should accomplish this function by itself. The support takes away the valuable training.

Transverse arch

The transverse arch equals perceptive toes!

The majority of people don’t know that the transverse arch exists. And why is that?

If we spread our toes and lean against them, we will form a transverse arch. Our toes will position themselves like they want to try to take hold of something. For this, the space in the shoe and flexible soles are essential, which can be problematic nowadays.

Let’s try how the hand arch reacts. Because it is similar to the foot arch, we can easily demonstrate the proper functionality. When we spread the fingers, the transverse arch appears. On the other hand, when we put the fingers together, the arch gets smaller. If we rotate the fingers upwards, the arch disappears. This situation occurs when we wear regular shoes with raised toe-tip or elevated heels.

What's the arch like in a shoe?

Unfortunately, most regular shoes have a raised shoe tip, a toe box above the ground, and a curved sole. This type of shoe cause we stand with toes elevated from the ground. The weight focuses on the back part of the foot. We don’t use the toes, lean against them, nor exercise the transverse arch.

A longtime wearing of this type of shoes and loss of transverse arch can result in pressure soreness, overstrained foot joints and areas around the heel. However, important is the change in our movement patterns. The weight shifts backward, and everything else accommodates. The way of standing and how we lean against the foot changes. The toe tip mainly rotates outwards, and it influences the style of our walk. The alteration of knee angle starts to overstrain knee ligaments and meniscus. The abdominal muscle loosens up, and the belly pops out. It puts a strain on the lower back and intervertebral discs. A lot of backaches relate to the altered posture!

If the children's shoes are incorrectly shaped and have non-flexible soles, the children can start to walk only on their tippy toes.

A lot of shoes as well have elevated heels or are high heeled. Even the slightest elevation transports the weight to the wrong places, so it causes strain on the joints and instep, deactivates the transverse arch, and weakens it. The force will start to push to the big toe bones, and after some time, you can develop hallux. And again, the wrong posture transmits to the whole body. In this position, even the ankle collapses, the knee rotates inwards, and after some time, it can cave in (legs in the shape of a letter X), the leg rotates in the hip joint, and the pelvic floor tilts forward.

The worst thing is the combination of elevated heel and raised toes.

Give the foot enough space!

Both longitudinal and transverse foot arch need enough space for the correct functioning. Choose shoes with the biggest toebox that will fit the big toe and other toes, a flat sole that is fully flexible in every direction, so the foot can perceive the surface on which you walk, absorb all the stimulus and naturally strengthen and fulfill its function.

Barefoot shoes respect these principles, and that's why we recommend them to children from their first steps. Of course, switching to barefoot shoes has beneficial health effects on women or men of every age, so it is never too late to start. On our e-shop, you can easily choose from thousands of pairs in stock, and we guarantee next-day delivery. If you are still hesitant about which one to choose, read our reviews or contact us directly.

Prepared in cooperation with Matyáš Kozma

Matyáš Kozma is an author of the concept of Movanatomy, a man who contributed to the development of the approach to barefoot shoes in the Czech Republic, an expert on the movement patterns and natural behavior of feet, co-founder of Realfoot Shoes, and also a human who never loses his smile.

Matyáš’s lifelong mission is to correct human movement and bodies. He does it in his untypical way. He moves together with the people, so they can collectively work on the body activation of the neglected body parts. That is his way. He wakes up the natural behavior of the body parts so they can compose themselves in the proper positions and lean against the correct points. We experienced it firsthand. ✔️

Matiáš says that the human body talks, and if we learn its language, many difficulties that worry us will be solved.

 

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