Technological advancements have led to drastic improvements in nearly every field of medicine, helping people live longer, healthier, and more comfortable lives. However, people just like you are still using the same conventional shoe inserts that are based on a philosophy and design from more than 100 years ago.
Now, in an age where technology has enhanced nearly every other form of medical treatment, Mechanical Medicine has developed a new breed of orthotics that tear down the outdated concept of “arch support” while revolutionizing your movement, pain relief, and athletic performance.
Your feet are the literal foundation of your entire body. They bear your weight and are core components in the body’s movement. The gait cycle (also known as the beginning of the stride) starts when the heel of one foot contacts the ground and ends when that same foot hits the ground again. This is often the starting point of the kinetic chain, which, in biomechanics, represents how ground reaction forces travel from the foot through every connected muscle, joint, and bone.
Without true mechanical alignment, these forces can impact the body in damaging ways. Since the foot is the starting point, you need to know about its key structural elements and how they influence movement before forces transfer up the kinetic chain to the knees, hips, and back. This will help you understand just how important proper alignment is to the human body. Let’s take you through it one step at a time.
Known as the “true ankle joint,” it is made up of three bones: the tibia, the fibula, and the talus. Part of its internal cushion is made up of a thin membrane known as “the synovium,” providing the ankle with a natural lubricant for movement. The ankle joint is a key component in the body that allows for dorsiflexion (upward movement) and plantarflexion (downward movement) of the foot.
It’s that joint you’ve never heard of, which is a shame because it’s really crucial to alignment. It’s made up of two bones: the talus and the calcaneus. There are several ligaments (known as connective tissue) that hold these bones together and tendons that attach muscles from the leg to the ankle. Much like the ankle joint dictates upward and downward movement of the foot, the subtalar joint allows for inversion (inward roll) and eversion (outward roll) of the foot.
Sometimes known as the midtarsal joint, the arch is a shock absorber, the locking mechanism of your foot, and provides weight-bearing capabilities. No two arches are the same since they’re determined by the shape of local bones, the pedal ligaments, and the strength of various muscles. The structure will change whenever you move, directly impacting your foot alignment. This is one of the main reasons why conventional running insoles lose their effectiveness.
Although virtually everyone has those joints, symptoms and pain can occur at any point of the gait cycle and will vary from person to person as forces move up the kinetic chain to the knees, hips, and back. This variation has shown a need for an adjustable device beyond insoles that can effectively control the ground reaction forces impacting the body.