How do your feet work?
FEET are immensely complex structures, yet we put huge amounts of pressure on them every day. How do they cope?
THE human foot and ankle is crucial for locomotion and is one of the most complex structures of the human body. This intricate structure is made up of no less than 26 bones, 20 muscles, 33 joints – although only 20 are articulated – as well as numerous tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect the muscles to the bones and facilitate movement of the foot, while ligaments hold the tendons in place and help the foot move up and down to initiate walking. Arches in the foot are formed by ligaments, muscles and foot bones and help to distribute weight, as well as making it easier for the foot to operate efficiently when walking and running. It is due to the unique structure of the foot and the way it distributes pressure throughout all aspects that it can withstand constant pressure throughout the day. One of the other crucial functions of the foot is to aid balance, and toes are a crucial aspect of this. The big toe in particular helps in this area, as we can grip the ground with it if we feel we are losing balance. The skin, nerves and blood vessels make up the rest of the foot, helping to hold the shape and also supplying it with all the necessary minerals, oxygen and energy to help keep it moving easily and constantly.