Neurodevelopment of the barefoot brain: or What would happen to our hand function if we wore OVEN MITTS all day long ? and so then, what about the effect of shoes on feet ?
Cody Lundin … perhaps the best known barefoot dude you will ever meet. If you have seen his TV show Dual Survival on Discovery Channel with Dave Canterberry you will know that he has been in the snows of Alaska, on the hot sand deserts, swamps etc you name it, barefoot on each. Take a good look at the photo of his strong healthy feet, no hammer toes, no bunions, no undercurling of the 4-5th toes (lateral quadratus plantae weakness) etc.
He is … Cody Lundin, Aboriginal Living Skills School, LLC
_________________ Brief dialogue from Cody…..(yes, those are his feet in the picture)
“Feets… I have received many comments over the years - positive and negative - about going barefoot. The reasons I do so are varied, and for those who know me, they know I have no agenda wishing that others would walk barefoot too. Its worthy to note that hundreds of thousands of people around the world - from toddlers to grandmothers - walk barefoot, and certainly, even though primitive foot wear was common, all of our ancestors got their start sans footwear. Foot wear certainly has its place to protect from environmental extremes, yet often its a conformist sign of class, status, or culture. I have traveled to many places in the world barefoot, and the reactions have been interesting; from getting kicked out of the airport in Peru, to boarding several airplanes in Laos where i wasn’t given a second glance. To each their own! cody ”
What The Gait Guys have to say:
Stepping backwards in time a little, in the caveman days things were different. The foot was unshod (without shoes) from the moment of the first step until one’s dying day, and thus the foot developed and looked different. The sole of the foot was thicker and callused due to the constant contact with rough and offending surfaces thus preventing skin penetration, the foot proper was more muscular and it may have been wider in the forefoot and the toes were likely slightly separated due to the demands of gripping which would obviously necessitate increase muscular strength and bulk to the foot intrinsic muscles. It was the constant input of uneven and offending surfaces such as rocks, twigs, mud, foliage and debris that stimulated the bottom of the foot, and thus the intrinsic muscles, sensing joint positions and relaying those variations to the brain for corresponding descending motor changes and adaptations to maintain protection and balance. The foot simply worked different, it worked better, it worked more like the engineering marvel that it truly is. The foot was uncovered and the surfaces we walked on were uneven and challenging. However, as time went on, man decided to mess with a good thing. He took a foot that was highly sensitive, a virtual sensory organ with a significant sensory and motor representation in the brain (only the hands, genitals and face have more brain representation as represented by the sensory and motor homunculus of the brain) and he not only covered it up with a slab of leather or rubber but he then flattened and then paved not only his world, but also his home, with black hard top, cement, wood or tile thus completing the total sensory information deprivation of the entire foot. Thus, not only did he take away critical adaptive skills from himself and generations to follow, but he began the deprivation of the brain of critical information from which the central nervous system would need to develop and continue to function effectively. It is not unlikely that the man of pre-shod time had a strong competent foot arch (perhaps somewhat flat to increase surface area contact for adaptation), but one that did not need orthotics, stability shoes or rigid shanks and inserts. In other words, the foot and its lower limb muscles were strong with exceptional skills and endurance. But in todayís day and time things are now different. We now affix a shoe to the childís foot even before he can walk and then when he does, all propriosensory information necessary for the development of critical spinal and central nervous system reflexes is ensured to be virtually absent. Is it any wonder why there are so many people in chronic pain from postural disorders related to central core weakness and inhibition ? Is it any wonder why so many people seem to have flat incompetent feet and arches? Man has done it to himself, but thankfully man has proven that what he can do, he can undo. Thankfully we see modern medical research that has delved into this realm of thought and has uncovered the woes of our ways and to follow, companies like those mentioned earlier are imagining and developing devices that will allow us some protection from modern day offenses such as glass, plastics and metal and thus allow us the slow and gradual return to our healthier foot days, all fashion sense aside.
*Some hard and simple research facts, current research has been conducted showing that plantar (bottom of the foot) sensory feedback plays a central role in safe and effective locomotion, that more shoe cushioning can lead to higher impact forces on the joints and higher risk of injury, that unshod (without shoes) lowers contact time versus shod running, that there are higher braking and pushing impulses in shod versus unshod running, that unshod running presents a reduction of impact peak force that would reduce the high mechanical stress that occurs during repetitive running and that the unshod foot induces a neural-mechanical adaptation which could enhance the storage and restitution of elastic energy at ankle extensor level. These are only some of the research findings but they are some of the more significant ones. These issues will not only support injury management benefits for the unshod runner but increase speed, force and power output.
Shawn and Ivo……. The Gait Guys
The Gait Guys
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