What do your foot bones have to do with how you walk and how you feel? The answer is a lot.
Your foot is really a well-engineered part of your body. Every step you take depends on it. It’s anatomically complex with 28 different bones, 33 joints and over 100 different muscles, ligaments and tendons. However, these bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons aren’t randomly put together to give you a foot. The foot bones fit together in such a way as to allow movement to occur that gives you the ability to walk, run, jump, and suddenly stop running as well.
Of the 28 foot bones, the largest one is your heel or calcaneus. The talus bone is the next largest and it’s considered to be your ankle bone. The talus connects with the tibia and fibula of your lower leg. The smallest foot bone would be a sesamoid bone located on your big toe. This bone has one purpose – to prevent any additional friction from occurring in the area of the big toe.
In the middle of the foot close to the ankle bone, there are five foot bones together – the cuboid, navicular and the three cuneiform bones. These bones form an arch called the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. Look down at your foot right now. Stand up on your feet and observe what happens to these bones. Does your foot roll inwardly as you stand? If so, this means your foot has lost its natural arch design.
Some people are born with flat feet that allow these five foot bones to roll inwardly. If you’re one of them, you can add an arch support to your shoes and stop that inward rolling motion. When your foot rolls inward, the motion is called excessive pronation. This motion is something that all podiatrists and chiropractors try to stop from happening because it leads to many foot disorders such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, bunions, hammertoes, foot arthritis, and foot fatigue.
An arch support in your shoe is like a crutch and restores the natural arch of the foot. When you wear it, your feet will be less tired during the day and if you’re a runner, you’ll notice you can run longer distances without developing fatigue.
The next foot bones are the metatarsals and phalanges. These also form their own arch that raises them up in the region of the ball of the foot. If this metatarsal arch falls, you’ll have pain in that part of the foot.
The foot bones are one of your most important links to feeling great all day long. Supporting them with foot orthotics such as arch supports or ones that have a variety of features besides arch supports such as heel cups can give you the refreshed feeling you are seeking during the day.