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?

People (South Africa) - - Contents -

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.

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