Lets face it, when our joints are in pain, the normal reaction would be “what can I buy to deal with it?” In this age of modern technological advances, most people want instant solution. The new being infinitely better than the old. Hence if your foot arch, ankle or knees hurt, getting the latest and greatest gait analysis combined with the latest and greatest cushioning technology should be able to take care of it right?
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense
For those that believe in a creator of the universe, its hard to argue that humans are not created for running and walking. And for those that believed in the theory of evolution, then our ancestors have been walking on two legs for over 3 million years. Projectile weapons (spears) started being used by humans approximately 71,000 years ago. That means that over the majority of our existence, we had to hunt our way to our food by running.
Another thing to consider is the fact that cushioned running shoes only existed for less than half a century. That means that people that cannot walk and run efficiently over the past several millennium will simply get erased off the gene pool.
What Is Causing All The Problems
Just like people with low back pain, people with knee and foot arch pain tend to be looking for a magic pill or magic device they can simply buy to solve all their problems. If not, surgery is the way! This sort of thinking pattern is problematic because outside intervention has its own complications.
The fact is, unless a person is having a rare genetic disorder or experienced a traumatic event (major accident), the typical issue you find on the average population is simply due to the way modern society has evolved:
- Over the past 2 generations an increasing number of roads are being smoothly paved, which is great for many things but also causes us to loose our proprioceptive sense from our feet, i.e. we don’t need as much feedback from our feet on the road conditions.
- More people simply spend most of their lives sitting down.
- The proliferation of bodybuilding principle in the medical world where each muscle has its own individual function. The fact is, most common movement pattern requires a variety of muscles to work together in synchronization.
The good news is that the answer to the problem is relatively simple. People need to learn how to squat, lunge and walk with proper forms. Proper forms as in knees not bent inwards, no inward ankle pronation, and how to generate power from the hips. Proper training in these lower body movement patterns will translate to joint conserving daily movements.
The bad news is unlike supplements, accessories and surgery, this is not an instant solution. People need to train regularly, with proper trainer, experiencing gradual improvement. This is a different mindset with what modern society is trying to offer but this is the natural, better way.
This is not to say that specialty shoes don’t have their time and place. The writer of this article himself owns different pairs of shoes for Olympic weightlifting, hiking, and running. The point is that training for proper force alignment will give far superior end results than simply having a specialized shoe to correct an injury causing force alignment.