.... Consider some realities. As already cited, the
prime function of the arches is to absorb body weight shock in
standing, walking, or running, and to return the absorbed energy via
the elastic apparatus of the arches. They serve not only to maintain
body balance but to provide the spring and propulsion for the step.
The foot's arches and their associated mechanisms (muscles and
tendons, fascia, ligaments, and joints) are marvelously designed for
these functions. It should be obvious that the more these complex
spring forces are hampered or reduced or otherwise interfered with,
the less effective the whole spring mechanism will be.
Yet that is precisely what happens to the average foot with
any form of artificial support mechanism. Loss of elasticity
with increase of rigidity is common with the feet of persons 60 years
and over. This is usually ascribed to the natural "aging" process. The
feet not only display anatomical and functional deficiencies, but are
often accompanied by distress symptoms and diminished gait mobility.
Almost all the conditions involve the foot's complex arch system.
But the "aging process" theory is highly debatable.
Among shoeless people of advanced years there is
rarely loss of foot elasticity or gait mobility, or presence of foot
distress symptoms. Among shoe-wearing
people, however, the foot has been in a constrictive caged state
two-thirds of the life span. There is inevitable deterioration of the
foot's spring or arch system -- much the same way as a body part held
in a rigid cast for a prolonged period atrophies and loses strength.
It has little to do with "aging." It has much to do with shoe-caused
loss of elasticity over a long period.
Another important factor is involved. Most shoe-wearing people walk
on less than half of their natural plantar tread surface. This is
easily demonstrated. Dampen the sole of your foot, then place it on a
paper towel. Remove your foot, then quickly draw an outline around the
print. Now, examine the sole and heel of one of your worn shoes. Then
compare the two soleprints. The shoe will show wear mostly at the
outside-rear corner of the heel and at the center of the ball. The
remaining part of the shoe bottom will show little or no wear. The
worn shoe tread area will usually amount to half or less than the
footprint area -- indicating that you are walking on only half of your
What does it mean? The "working" half of your foot is bearing an
over-load while the non-working half is unutilized -- and indicating
progressive loss of strength. Why the limited shoe tread? Again, a
combination of faults in shoe design and construction which negatively
affect shoe tread.
A foot walking on virtually any shoe
is automatically unbalanced. While an orthotic may
assist in providing proper foot balance, both foot and orthotic become
victim of the built-in imbalance of the shoe and hence cannot perform
at full efficiency.
Common biomechanical conditions such as excessive pronation or
fasciitis or tendonitis are usually treated as separate, isolated
lesions. But all are linked to the arch system and cannot be separated
from the failings in the foot's overall spring mechanisms.
Among shoe-wearing people there is no such thing as a fully natural
or "normal" foot, either anatomically or functionally.
Constantly denied its natural need and ability
for constant exercise, the shoe-wearing foot has lost its capacity for
The inherent faults of shoe design and construction are intensified
further by the increasing use of built-in "arch supporting" features
which impose additional limitations on natural exercise functions so
vital to the elastic arch system. ...