Flexible Feet

A flexible foot can be the cause of a number of foot problems, most commonly the development of Hallux Abducto Valgus (Bunions) and Hallux Limitus (limited movement in the big toe joint).  The mentioned disorders can both come about because forces act too readily upon the feet, with weight coming down on the foot and ground reaction force pushing up the other way causing flattening and spreading of the feet.  Obviously, the more flexible the feet are the greater the effect of the forces will be on them.

The conditions mentioned above are some we frequently get asked about and treat, so it was interesting to read some new research recently that suggests 1 in 13 of us have flexible feet that are an evolutionary relic of our tree climbing days.  Jeremy Da Silva and Simone Gill of Boston University analysed the gait of 400 adults and found that 8 % of them exhibited a flexible mid-foot, rather like that seen in tree-dwelling apes.  A similar study from the University of Liverpool would suggest this figure might even be higher.  Interesting, as most text books would tell you that the mid-foot of a human is quite rigid, tied up with sturdy ligaments that ultimately allow effective bipedal ambulation.

The full article can be viewed at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829194.700-1-in-13-people-have-bendy-chimplike-feet.html#.UeUR1G3wWSo.

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