Influence of foot function in body weight bearing

(Closed kinetic chain = foot, feet on the ground, for example by walking)
Copyright 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Closed Chain Pronation

Weak foot muscles may lead to abnormal weight bearing in lower extremities, which also means abnormal function in knee, hip and lower back. This abnormal weight bearing strains the structures and tissues increasing the risk for problems or pain.

Feet are the key points in function of lower extremities, because of closed kinetic chain. Frequently pain (symptom) for example in knee may occur because of malfunction in foot biomechanics. The problems in feet are generally divided in two categories: structural and/or functional. Sometimes the problems could be caused by both. However, more common problem seems to be functional, which means that the feet muscles are too weak to take care of weight bearing. On the other hand, in both cases it is very important that the feet muscles are as strong as possible. Strong muscles give strong support for extremities and whole body.

Several studies show that moving barefeet seems to be the most effective functional training for the muscles of the feet. When barefeet, weight bearing in whole body is natural and the structures/tissues are working as they are mentioned. Also, according to studies the children should be as often as possible barefeet, because it will additionally improve balance and coordination by children. On the other hand, by older people one of the main reasons for immobility is the pain in their feet.

When moving barefeet every step is training. For example by walking there is a huge amount of repetitions (we take approximately 8000 to 10000 steps a day). So, generally when walking the whole body will be trained, including cardio-pulmonal training.