The foot is inherently misshaped. Orthotics and surgery are the only ways to correct foot problems.
Myth #1 Dispelled:
If you look at the foot of a young child, you will notice that his or her toes are spaced well apart. The foot of a young child is naturally designed for optimal balance and gait, and if the foot maintains this shape, optimal stride is preserved through old age: a finding observed in barefoot populations the world over. In industrialized societies, however, people spend a lifetime wearing shoes with rigid soles, toe spring, heel elevation, and tapering toe boxes—four design elements that inevitably lead to foot and toe deformities.
This deformation of the foot by the shoe is what leads to knee, ankle, foot, toe and other muscle and joint problems in many people. Thus, the foot is NOT naturally misshaped; in fact, in most cases, it starts out just fine. The way to address most foot problems, then, is not with orthotics or surgery, but rather, by allowing the foot to return to its natural form, with the forefoot level with the heel, and with the foot’s natural toe splay enabled.
Athletic shoes are good for the feet because they’re flat, absorb impact, and support both the heel and arch.
Myth #2 Dispelled:
Most people know that high heels are more about fashion than function, but what’s wrong with athletic shoes? If you examine footwear designed for sports such as running, for example, you’ll notice that even these shoes elevate your heel, extend your toes, and pinch your toes together. Instead of enhancing performance, however, this triad of design features actually compromises the natural gait cycle, leading to chronically tight foot and toe extensor muscles and tendons and structural changes in your toes themselves (i.e., the toes are forced toward the foot’s midline where they remain, permanently, unless steps are taken to reverse this deformity). Your foot functions best as a bare foot; that is, when your heel and forefoot are completely level, and when your toes are allowed to flex, extend, and spread.
Once foot problems are in place (e.g., bunions, neuromas, hammertoes, etc), there’s no way to correct them, except with surgery.
Myth #3 Dispelled:
Most foot and musculoskeletal problems can be treated WITHOUT surgery or pharmaceutical drugs. The approach simply involves returning your foot to its natural shape and allowing it to function the way nature intended. Correct Toes help return your toes to their natural shape and position, thereby undoing the damage caused by poorly designed footwear. Such a treatment approach is natural, conservative, and noninvasive, and it focuses on the underlying cause of dysfunction. In turn, and accordingly, this treatment model provides a long-term solution for those suffering from foot ailments.
Athletic shoes, especially the expensive ones, are designed by physicists or engineers and are built to optimize movement while maximizing both foot comfort and health.
Myth #4 Dispelled:
If only this were true! The reality is that the shoe market is driven by aesthetics, or by what “looks good” on the shelf and will therefore sell. This is true not only of dress shoes, but also of athletic shoes. While comfort is considered by some shoe designers, foot health is often a low priority.
Indeed, even when shoe designers are presented with the findings that flat, wide-in-the-toe shoes are optimal for foot function and health, they fail to incorporate this information into their designs, as such a style would be incongruous with the classic shoe appearance (and therefore detrimental to sales). Also, consumers must remember that more money can be charged for a shoe that boasts “arch support” or “motion control” than for a simple, flat shoe. Take home message: The very shoes that are supposed to enhance athletic performance actually hinder it by altering natural foot shape and gait and causing injuries.
Foot problems and musculoskeletal problems (such as osteoarthritis) are a natural part of the human aging process.
Myth #5 Dispelled:
You’ve probably heard (or overheard) people utter the following complaint: “I can’t run/walk/stand anymore because I’m getting too old.” It’s true that foot and other musculoskeletal problems are astoundingly common in our society, but they are NOT, in fact, a natural part of the aging process. Conventional footwear, for the reasons mentioned above, plays a much larger role in the process of physical degeneration than most people realize and contribute more significantly to foot problems than the aging process. Remember, in societies that do not use rigid, deforming footwear, people don’t suffer nearly the same rate of osteoarthritis, foot problems, and other musculoskeletal problems, even well into old age.
Patient: “I have flat feet,” or, “I have fallen arches.” Doctor: “This is a problem that must be managed with orthotics or another form of arch support.”
Myth #6 Dispelled:
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases, the height or length of the main foot arch is not the issue. You can have optimal foot function with a low, medium, or high arch. What’s truly important, however, is the levelness of your support base. This support is naturally built into your foot, with your heel, forefoot, and evenly-spaced toes serving as the ends of the arch. If your foot (in its natural anatomical position) is able to walk without the confinement (or immobilizing effect, really) of rigid soles and tapering toe boxes, then external support devices such as “arch support” insoles or conventional arch orthotics are NOT required.