The human body is truly remarkable. We have so many elaborate systems working in symmetry (hopefully!) to enable us to make it through the day. As pedorthists, one of these systems that we devote a fair bit of attention to is the feet. Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. And to move, all of these structures have to coordinate with all of the structures above the feet. This system has been in place for millions of years so needless to say, we’ve had a few years to figure this walking thing out!
We constantly have patients coming through our clinic having been told not to be barefoot. Although this can be great short term advice (see below), we’re humans and are designed to be barefoot or in very low profile footwear. On the flip side, we see many patients who are so hard set on being barefoot (or in flat shoes), they miss out of some of the great short term tools available to get them through an injury and back to barefoot more quickly. So knowing how to use these tools without becoming reliant on them truly is the key!
This system [barefoot] has been in place for millions of years so needless to say, we’ve had a few years to figure this walking thing out!
As with most things medical, there is rarely one answer that’s best for everyone. Try to do your best to keep your feet and body strong, mobile, and stress free and know when to use the bandaids to get through trouble spots more quickly when life gets in the way of the ‘perfect world’ scenario.