What were they thinking?

You have heard us talk about the normal lines of force as they travel through the foot. In the drawing above you will see several options of force travel through the foot, the one that makes it through the big toe is typically the most normal and advantageous. They begin at the lateral heel, travel up the lateral column of the foot to the head of the 5th metatarsal, go across the transverse metatarsal arch (or more appropriately, transverse metatarsal area) to the head of the 1st metatarsal, and out through the center of the hallux (or big toe). Again, look at the left portion of the diagram on the top.

You have also heard us talk about tread patterns on the bottom of the shoe or outsole. The “lines” or siping should work in concert with the forces as they travel through the foot.

Now look at the diagram on the right. Something is awry here. Do you see it? Why do the treads stop at the tail of the 5th metatarsal (base of the little toe’s metatarsal)? Why does the siping that travels the length of the foot go from the medial (inside) of the heel to the lateral (outside) part of the foot? Depending on where on your foot you strike the ground, this could seriously change the direction of force though the foot.

Look at the bottom of footwear. Look at the lines that the forces will follow. Something that “looks cool” may not actually be so cool for our biomechanics!

The Gait Guys. Stretching your brain each day : )

Drawing courtesy of Tom Michaud.

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