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Back 2 School - Part A

Dr. Foot Solutions - Friday, January 19, 2018

How to choose shoes for natural development of strong, healthy feet, good posture and gait or how to develop feet-shaped feet, NOT shoe-shaped feet.


Important considerations –

1. Feet. We want longevity of feet and all weight bearing linkages NOT longevity of treads/soles of shoes. Shoes CAN be replaced, feet CANNOT. The structure of 26 bones, 200,000 nerves and half of the body’s muscles (650) x2, make it a challenge to 3D mill a new pair of feet!

2. Support is unnecessary for development of strong feet. The notion of external support is a MYTH for any part of the growing body, and in particular, feet. Support should only be used in cases of injury as in rest, the first part of the RICER program for injury management. Indeed, absence of support is necessary for allow for muscle development and good movement patterns.

“Natural gait is biomechanically possible for any shoe-wearing person.”

Dr William Rossi, DPM, shoe guru and expert Podiatrist in effects of footwear. 

3. Best formal policy on footwear for kids – American Academy of Paediatrics – these principles can’t be faulted, and still current, over 20 years later. It is the shoe industry who has ‘sold’ the notion of support, cushioning, heel height and thick soles to consumers. 

4. Bone Growth does not finish until after age 8 in feet. BEWARE all shoe shaped shoes until at least after then.

5. Neurotransmitters. The 200,000 neurotransmitters in each foot provide stimulus/messages that the brain acts on, to regulate movement patterns for soft (not heavy) footstrike, correct stride length and cadence in running. The more cushioning, stiffeners and weight in the shoe, the more this biofeedback loop is interfered with, resulting in injurious movement patterns and poor posture.

•  The sensory foot/body, foot/brain connection is vital to body stability, equilibrium and gait.

•  “Gait is the single most complex motor function of the human body. Natural gait and shoes are biomechanically incompatible because all shoes automatically convert the normal to abnormal, the natural to unnatural.” – Dr William Rossi, Why Shoes make Normal Gait Impossible.

•  Shoes should be light and flexible, with heel and ball level. For body weight to be distributed evenly between heel and ball of foot, there should be no heel height.

Part B will cover fitting, materials and more.

Bronwyn Cooper BIO

Bronwyn Cooper is a Podiatrist and Clinical Educator who specialises in both chronic pain and the clinical effects of footgear.

Bronwyn has used specialised brands of footwear to restore good movement patterns and posture for some 12 years now. She presents regularly to health professionals on these topics, including 2012 International Pedorthic Conference.

Her footwear centre is an integral part of addressing patients’ poor movement patterns.

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