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The Science behind the Kinetic Technology™

ProKinetics® Insoles - The Simple Solution to a Complicated Problem

People who walk barefoot on dirt do not share our western lifestyle pain problems.

If you have read the where and why you hurt pages, you already understand the connection between your feet and your posture and your posture and body pain. So, what is it about the feet that causes this problem? We could blame it all on the feet like the foot doctors do, but it’s not purely a foot problem. It’s partially an environmental problem that makes our feet incompatible with our environment. The reason ProKinetics® Insoles work so well is that they correct the root cause of the problem. They help your feet deal with their environment.

The world is Flat

In our world of convenience and ease, as far as our feet are concerned, the world is flat.  We have made nearly every surface we stand and walk on flat. That includes the inside of your shoes, and that’s the problem because as you may have heard, people who walk barefoot in nature all the time do not share our typical foot and body pain problems. Everything your doctor tells you is in relationship to flat surfaces, so when you’re told you overpronate, it describes how your feet behave relative to the flat surface you stand on.

The Cause of Overpronation

Elevated First Metatarsal

Hyperpronation (the arch flattening and the ankles rolling in) is consistently being blamed on "fallen arches". If this is true, fixing the problem would be as simple as providing arch support to prevent the arch from collapsing. Arch supports fix the problem while standing still (static fix), but as soon as the heel lifts off the ground, the foot goes into hyperpronation (dynamic failure).

Medical publications describe how the first metatarsal, in normal symptom free subjects, dorsiflexes (elevates) through 88% of the contact gait cycle (heel strike to toe-off) causing the foot to hyperpronate. The foot hyperpronates because the first metatarsal and big toe do not support the foot as it needs in order to be stable.

The question is why does the first metatarsal not participate in the weight bearing earlier as we assume it should?

A lot has been written about hypermobility of the first metatarsal, meaning that the ligaments of the bones forming the medial arch are lengthened causing hypermobility. That begs a perfectly reasonable question: Why would only those few ligaments be lengthened and none other in the whole body. It seems people who are hypermobile - often dubbed double jointed,  have extreme flexibility throughout their bodies. Not only in their feet, and much less one toe only.

A more plausible and documented reason..

for the non participating first metatarsal is that it is positioned incorrectly. This explains why young people hyperpronate as well. It generally has little to do with loose ligaments and structurally "fallen arches".

Referring to the model above, the first metatarsal connects through two bones, the Cuniform and the Navicular to the head of the Talus (anklebone). It has been documented in cadaver studies that the rotational angle, in the frontal plane, of the head of the talus can vary as much as 20 degrees from one person to another. Since the head of the talus forms the basis for the first ray, the first metatarsal and big toe, it impacts its position. The first two illustrations demonstrate the change of Talus head angle and position of the first metatarsal.

When the weight shifts to the forefoot, the first metatarsal and big toe will still reach the ground, but because of the relationship between the position of the first metatarsal and the head of the Talus, the whole foot is caused to tilt inward (hyperpronation).

Position of the head of the Talus bringing the first metatarsal down to the ground.
Position of the head of the Talus in most people who hyperpronate. Changed positional angle. Demonstrate this by doing a knee bend and forcing the middle of your knees to be aligned over the middle of your feet.
The first metatarsal ultimately comes down, but in the process it collapses the arch and tilts the heel and ankle inward (hyperpronates). You can demonstrate this by relaxing your muscles allowing your knees to follow your structure and move inward when you bend your knees.

Muscle Compensation - Attempted Supination

The Tibialis Anterior is overworked trying to prevent the inside of the foot from collapsing.

For most people, hyperpronation is not a natural, comfortable motion. The unnatural twisting and bending sends pain signals to the brain, and it tries to avoid this discomfort. Since the brain is adverse to pain, it responds by trying to correct it. The body and brain inherently knows hyperpronation is bad!

Muscles in the calves are signaled to make an attempt to roll the feet outward (supinate) to avoid the inward collapse. The unfortunate part of this muscle bracing action is that it is often excessive, and causes severe overuse problems as well as instability.

This muscular bracing against hyperpronation illustrates that the body attempts to compensate for unnatural motion similar to righting itself when balance is lost. As you know, when you loose balance, your muscles tend to over correct, you become more rigid and are actually at higher risk for falling.

Proprioception

Proprioception:
Sensory signals are processed by the brain into motor (muscle) action

A normally functioning body relies on proprioception. The body senses its position, velocity and tension. The feet play a pivotal role in your upright posture and balance.

What happens if the signals are missing or distorted? Diabetic neuropathy (loss of feeling in the feet) changes gait, and posture, weakens muscles and increases the risk of falls and foot injury.

When the first metatarsal is elevated, the first metatarsal isn't loaded until very late in the weight bearing cycle - after the heel lifts, and this deprives the brain of the signals it needs to establish balance and posture. The signals the brain relies on to control your feet and gait are arriving late or in some cases are lost completely. According to some studies, the first metatarsal and big toe do not significantly participate in weight bearing and propulsion until the last 12% of the contact gait cycle. By that time your mechanics and posture is completely distorted.

ProKinetics® Insoles restore the Proprioceptive Signals

By placing The Kinetic Technology™ wedge underneath the first metatarsal and big toe, the late or missing signals are restored by changing the timing of the first metatarsal ground contact. Unstable feet become stable so the natural proprioceptive signals can improve posture and body mechanics.

By now, you have probably concluded that changing the timing of ground contact for the first metatarsal could solve the problem. You are right. That is exactly what ProKinetics® Insoles do. But restoring correct proprioception is a delicate matter subject to 100% interpretation of the brain. Too little may be ignored, and too much may be avoided. That's why we have designed an assessment so you can determine what is best for you.