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Kit_L

Flat feet (pronation); in response to a q. from Coach Sommer

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This movement of the big toes away from the midline of the body is explicitly caused by the pronation you have and, in time, will cause the bunions that everyone wants to avoid. The pronation causes a lateral deviation of the big toes away from the midline; if you come up on the ball of one foot, you will see the toe moving sideways as well as flexing. See my feet below (that's the deck of Sea Biscuit you can see):

See how my big toes move towards the midline? This is what you want. To get this, you will need to work on your feet with maximum awareness: weight must be slightly cheated to the outside of the front of the foot every time you can be conscious of it; this weight shifting is what the muscles I describe in the video is responsible for. Every time you stand, ask yourself: "Where's the weight on my feet right now?". 

Same when you do the exercises (and add the whole foot sequence from YouTube if you are not doing that already); being able to spread your toes will help all this.

As for barefoot walking, it can be done every day, but walking on concrete or asphalt will not necessarily help the feet unless you are conscious of where the weight is on the foot. I recommend rougher ground, only because you will not need to think about this: the foot will try to pull as much of its sole away from the sharp things automatically, and this will do everything you need. In the beginning, though, less is more; I have been barefoot for over ten years, with another ten before that in Five Fingers, and each adaptation took about five years.

KL-feet.JPG

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@Kit_L
Thanks a lot Kit for all the info. I will follow the exercises that you have told me. 
I will keep track of the progress and update here in time. 

I have to find a gravel surface, there's a park nearby. Will have to try and see if there's some rough surface there. 

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Any sharp, uncomfortable, surface will do. Gravel sitting on a hard surface is perfect: it has to be sharp enough that you have to move like a person walking over hot coals—it's the body trying to pull as much of the foot away from the surface being walked on that stimulates the reflexes we want to wake up. Bend your knees and proceed 'gingerly'.

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Dear members - I might have something that adds to your knowledge about feet. I had the opportunity to spent time with Lee Saxby, who invested quite a lot of time investigating the human foot. Before I met him I had the theory of the human foot as a tripod in mind. 

Lee Saxby and colleagues defined a functional foot in this way:

"The functional foot provides a half-dome weight-bearing surface that is supported by the stabilising action of the toes." >>> https://www.leesaxby.com/functional-feet-defined

I know you are aware about the importance of toe function already, but the references listed on the website might be something to refer to. And Lee writes about, why the foot as a tripod might be a theory to overcome.

P.S.: This is my first post in this forum, I have been reading several posts in this forum already, had contact time with Kit and Olivia (Workshop and Teacher Training) - and hope the post adds to knowledge and improves foot function for people :) 

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@Anja Wagner: Welcome and thanks.

Functionally, I believe there's little difference in the tripod vs. half dome perspective (WRT exercises to correct over-pronation). If you feel this is a simplification of Lee's contribution, please feel free to put a different view.

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Thanks, Kit!

Here is how I understand it.

I think the tripod perspective is a helpful cue to realign the movement pattern of the standing and walking, for example in a over-pronation scenario.

The problem that might arise from the tripod perspective is, that the weight of the body is not necessarily evenly distributed over the foot, respectively on all of the five metatarsal heads and the half dome area between the heel and forefoot. In the tripod scenario the weight is more into the heel and the first and fifth metatarsal head.

The functional foot as Lee defines it has the weight on the foot evenly distributed as a half dome.  On a flat ground standing and relaxed foot, there is no transverse arch from the first to the fifth metatarsal and no longitudinal lateral arch from the fifth metatarsal to the heel. That´s a crucial difference to the tripod view, as far as I know.

To correct over-pronation I think Lee would at first create a footprint on a pedograph and analyze this "snapshot" - for example to look at the current stabilisation line of the hallux, the hight of the arch and pressure patterns through the foot during walking. He uses as well the "twisted plate theory" of the foot. A over-pronated foot might be to "untwisted" and "twisting exercises" for the foot might be helpful to mobilize the heel and the forefoot. The way a human walks, his squat ability, pain patterns, injury history, currents sports, age, weight etc. should be put into context with the snapshot from the pedograph. All this information can be used to find exercises to correct over-pronation.

This might be a simplification of Lee´s insights, anyway, that is what I got out of it. 

If this writing needs more clarification, I will write more about what I learned from Lee Saxby and maybe you could help me to put it more into context.

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15 hours ago, Anja Wagner said:

The functional foot as Lee defines it has the weight on the foot evenly distributed as a half dome.  On a flat ground standing and relaxed foot, there is no transverse arch from the first to the fifth metatarsal and no longitudinal lateral arch from the fifth metatarsal to the heel. That´s a crucial difference to the tripod view, as far as I know.

The problem with this claim is that it's simply not accurate, in one sense. Somewhere in this thread (or on my blog; can't remember now) I have images of my footprints; clearly there is even weight distribution across the forefoot and all toes, including the little one, and the foot rests on the surface on three points. To Kapandji*, this shows a transverse arch and a longitudinal arch, from the fifth metatarsal to the heel that describes these unweighted areas. Many people's feet do not show this, but most dancers' feet do.

When I say, "clearly there is a transverse arch and a longitudinal arch from the fifth metatarsal to the heel", I mean that these parts of the foot do not touch the surface (sand, in this case). Whether you describe this as two unweighted areas on the sole of the foot, or two additional "arches" does not seem important to me, but more on this below.

It is the eternal problem of models: if reality could be explained and talked about directly, we would not need them. All models necessarily simplify this reality; both the tripod and the half-dome ones. Both models are approximations of reality, but I see no clear advantage to the half-dome one over the tripod one. Both are simplifications that explain some/much of what we see. As well, nomenclature is driven by the underlying model; in Lee's there are no transverse arches, nor longitudinal ones—because of the properties of the model itself. The tripod model is Kapandji's, and we find its implications useful. If you can show that Lee's is more useful, I'd be interested to know more.

We recommend softening exercises for insufficient pronation (the so-called "rigid feet") and both strengthening and repatterning (waking up the proprioceptors in the soles of the feet, so the use pattern changes) for over-pronation. In the recommendations for how to overcome 'problems' (I'll explain the inverted commas later) I suspect that we recommend similar methods.

I should add that models, usually, are not right or wrong, but may be arrayed on a conceptual axis from least useful to most useful, with respect to particular inquiries. 

*https://kitlaughlin.com/forums/index.php?/topic/165-stretch-therapy-recommended-reading/

 

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Thanks Kit, for the context given. It is really helpful for me to read how you approach to look at reality in context with the body.

On 6/27/2019 at 7:13 AM, Kit_L said:

In the recommendations for how to overcome 'problems' (I'll explain the inverted commas later) I suspect that we recommend similar methods.

I agree with you on that!

As I am not that deep in sense of understanding into the mentioned theories yet, neither Kapandji´s nor Lee´s and as I wanted to respond something useful I posted our conversation first in to the "foot map practitioner forum", and asked if there is any comment - and Lee Saxby has a comment to it, I want to share with you:

"Hi Anja,

It's always a pleasure to see intelligent dialogue regarding  the subject of  the human foot and it's function : )

This conversation is particularly interesting to me because discarding the conceptual model (and the subsequent visualisation ) of the human foot as a tripod was instrumental to my understanding of pedography and the creation of the foot map system.

To quote one of  my favourite 'thinkers'  Alfred Korzybski, father of General Semantics:

'The map is not the territory it represents but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for it's usefulness'

(This quote is the reason I labelled my pedograph the 'Functional Foot Map'.)

In my experience, attempting to recaoncile the 'tripod theory' with my observations of healthy, functional footprints and gait patterns was consistently 'paradoxical' which motivated me to look for alternative models of foot function. Upon diving into the biomechanical literature on the subject I discovered that the 'tripod theory' appeared as a theory in the late 1800s in German medical textbooks and slowly evolved into a medical  'fact' over time and still exists today despite the anatomical and biomechanical evidence that disproves the theory (more details here https://functionalfootmap.com/pages/the-functional-foot-defined)

Faulty maps usually lead to long painful journeys

Lee x"

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The actual quote is:

Quote

A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.

— Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity, p. 58.

The tripod map is a rough one, to be sure, but useful, even if not does not account for the toes. For example, if you stand on a hard floor and lift your toes away form the floor, then the three points of contact the tripod model points to can be felt (big toes side, and heel, and much less the little toe side, for most people). We then ask the workshop attendees, "How can you arrange your weight so you can feel the little toes side as well?" In all cases, the attendees have to consciously put some weight on the little toe side; lo and behold, the over-pronated arch lifts away from the floor. This little exercise is helpful in starting to wake up proprioception in the feet; the toes are then added to the experience.

In our work, we prefer to work with the complexity of the reality as presented, rather than with models, except as simple aids to increasing awareness. How can Lee's suggestions on how to correct over- or under-pronation advance our understanding in this thread? 

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Hello Kit, 

I was searching treatment for overpronation and luckily found this thread. 😁

I want to fix my flat feet too. My right foot is more flatter than my left.

My podiatrist said there is no treatment other than surgery. I have been wearing orthotics for so long. I want to fix them in a natural way. 

I appreciate your answer. 

Cheers! 

Edited by Hari

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On 7/13/2019 at 10:57 PM, Kit_L said:

How can Lee's suggestions on how to correct over- or under-pronation advance our understanding in this thread? 

Honestly I do not know yet.

What I can say for me is that I did use the tripod theory for myself, I learned it in physiotherapy after a foot surgery on my right foot 9 years ago. On my way to functional feet (as far as I can go) I think now I have to leave the tripod theory - and learn to shift my weight evenly on the forefoot, not trying to lift any metatarsals to get a unweighted area/a arch while standing. That was what I thought it should be like - Lee´s theory got me thinking about that assumption of an unweighted area in the forefoot.

The over-pronation in my right ankle is quite corrected when I get the hallux on the this side in the "right" position, more to the midline of the body. It might be an chicken or egg issue - what did came first - the over-pronation or the hallux ankle. What I think is that if I start to fix the function of the toes and the forefoot, the effect can go, after adaptation time, upstream the body.

I´m just starting to earn practical experiences with other bodies and I will take the content of this discussion for me to learn more. Probably I will report back!

Seems to be good times for the proprioreception in the feet! From my personal experience I can tell that this a good direction 🙂

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Hello everyone, 

I have been doing an exercise for my fallen arches known as Short foot technique 

I have been practicing it since few months and it gave me results. 

My right foot had a completely flat arch and left had a bit of arch but my left ankle rolled in upto a great extent and I don't know the cause. 

I have added a picture of my foot which shows how it looked after 1 months and 3 months of exercises respectively. 

PS - My legs are not sideways, I just cropped them in a way so that I can compare it easily. 😉

ZomboDroid 19082019112307.jpg

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Can you video the "short foot technique"; much more helpful that way. Or link to it somewhere else. 

There's definite improvement there. Why don't you add the strengthening exercise from the first page in this thread? 

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Hey, 

Yeah, the given link is to a YouTube video which I used to learn that technique. 

 

And this website, which helped me the most. 

https://www.fixflatfeet.com/exercises-for-flat-feet/

 

Yeah I'm able to improve my arch height. I'm not doing the exercise from this thread as of now because I just want to see how powerful our foot intrinsic muscles are. I mean I just want to see how far can I go with this exercise with proper progression. 

 

Also I have a question! 

What effect can jumping ropes barefoot create if I do it regularly? Also is it a good substitute to barefoot running?

 

Cheers! 

-Hari

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Hari,

I asked because neither of those links were in your first post. Thanks for amending.

The reason I suggested the first exercise in this post is because it also strengthens all the intrinsic muscles of the foot in addition to the one I identify in the lower leg. Overall, it is the best I have personally tried, and significantly stronger than the exercises you link to, which are more about awareness and activation. All good, but there are better ones, IMHO.

I would get more strength in the feet before loading them with skipping, too. Skipping is a great foot exercise, not to mention great cardio too (would it be a mainstay of boxing training, otherwise?) but doing too much too soon can injure you, as well. It's easy to disconnect from the sensations and alignment of the feet in such a quick endurance exercise. I recommend skipping highly, but only when your feet can handle it. If you confine yourself to a minute or two, and a few sets, in the beginning, you should be fine. When I trained in a professional boxing gym, in the dark ages, pro. boxing fights was 15 x 3 minute rounds, with 30" off in between, and that's how everyone trained, 5–6 days a week. We would do a full 15 rounds of mixed training, and a few sets of skipping in various ways would be part of that workout.

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Hi Kit, 

 

Yeah, thanks for correcting. These exercises are for establishing muscle mind connection and creating awareness. Also they did helped me alot. What is role of the lower leg muscle that you are talking about? 

 

Okay, I got your point. So, it should be taken very slowly as if you're teaching your feet something new. I'm planning to do it, as it will help me to shed some pounds, increase my calf endurance, will be great for cardiovascular health. So according to you, what should be the sets and reps and how fast can one progress? 

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On 8/24/2019 at 5:31 PM, Kit_L said:

I would get more strength in the feet before loading them with skipping, too. Skipping is a great foot exercise, not to mention great cardio too (would it be a mainstay of boxing training, otherwise?) but doing too much too soon can injure you, as well. It's easy to disconnect from the sensations and alignment of the feet in such a quick endurance exercise. I recommend skipping highly, but only when your feet can handle it.

I concur.  Skipping is without parallel for lower leg soft tissue (muscle, tendon and ligament) development.  But its potential impact on an inadequately conditioned body should not be taken lightly.  It is plyometric by its very nature, and as with all plyometric movements, should be engaged only when adequate strength has been developed.

Variations of the exercise referenced by Kit from the initial post is a widely (universally?) adopted progression towards the higher loads encountered while skipping.  The specifics of Kit's instructions in the video will better prepare you and your connective tissue than most standard versions of the same movement.

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On 8/25/2019 at 3:48 PM, Hari said:

What is role of the lower leg muscle that you are talking about? 

Please read the first two pages of this thread!

As for sets and reps (you were asking about skipping), did you read this?

On 8/24/2019 at 5:31 PM, Kit_L said:

If you confine yourself to a minute or two, and a few sets, in the beginning, you should be fine.

Re. shedding a few pounds: this is far easier to do by being careful about what you eat than by skipping or any other cardio-type work—this is because the body is extremely efficient. Not eating (say) 500 calories is so much easier than doing 500 calorie's worth of exercise. 

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Hey Kit, 

I read the post and now understand its anatomy and function. Now I also understand why my left ankle is rolling inwards so drastically. I might have missed that.

Also, I found that my hip flexors are tight, but I don't have any anterior pelvic tilt. I watched the video on solo hip flexor Stretch and found it useful. 

Yeah, I see I just messed up. Thanks for pointing that. 

So, being in a calorie deficit will surely make me shed some pounds, but will it be healthy? I do calisthenics on a regular basis. 

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11 hours ago, Hari said:

So, being in a calorie deficit will surely make me shed some pounds, but will it be healthy?

It's the carrying of those pounds you want to lost that's unhealthy!

I guarantee you know what you need to stop eating—it's the naughty things you love! Drop those, keep exercising, and you will lose the fat you don't want. There are plenty pf threads on what eating healthily means, but in my experience, everyone knows what their indulgences are. Simply drop some of those. And take your time; this way you are changing your desires at the same time as losing the unwanted weight; changing what you do is the key to making any changes stick.

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Hey Kit, 

I have started barefoot walking and the calf raise exercise you had suggested. I have few questions regarding that exercise. 

My legs becomes very shaky when I reach full contraction. What does it mean? 

What should be the gait of barefoot walking? Is heel strike fine? 

Also, I don't feel any cramping in my feet. Is it fine? 

 

Cheers! 

-Hari

 

Edited by Hari

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Hello everyone. Ah! Finally I found a forum where there is hope for flat feet. 

I saw the videos on the first page. I found the exercise quite difficult. @Anthony L 's answer was very helpful.

Hey Kit, do you think hip abductors too have effect on foot pronation? I have weakness in hips also. Little tightness in hip flexor and erector spinae. 

 

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Hey @Kit_L and all, 

 

I read the whole post and found it super informative. Especially, the first post.

Definitely a gem! 

 

I had  just two options : wear orthotics or get surgery which involves placing a screw in your foot preventing it from collapsing.  

I feel hope is our ultimate weapon. 

 

Now moving on, I want to ask some questions regarding barefoot walking. I have recently started barefoot walking on a concrete surface which is very rough and little bit uneven. Will that work? I avoid direct Heel contact. I do about a mile daily and also the excercise from the first post 2x a week.

 

 

 

 

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On 9/27/2019 at 6:08 PM, Ritik Singh said:

Hey Kit, do you think hip abductors too have effect on foot pronation?

There are a large numbers of muscles involved—but we can't consciously adjust this coordination aspect ourselves. Waking up the feet and activating the external rotators that place the weight on the feet properly (that's the step exercise) will do that.

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