'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Arches


Me in my younger days on the way to school
I love cycling and walking.
But from a young age I never liked running.
After all these years, recently I think I've found out why.

At school I'd usually come second-to last in any running race (thank goodness never last because Maree Smith was always behind me).  I never really wondered why, because that was just the way it was.  But when I look back, I was relatively fit, very thin, biked the five mile trip to and from school daily, yet I ran very poorly, would sprain my ankle very easily, and even now I take care to wear boots that support my ankles if I am on uneven ground at all, so people won't have to carry me home.  I just assumed I had 'weak ankles' and rarely ran anywhere once I left school.

Last week I happened upon an article* about pronation - the flexing of your feet when you run (and walk, presumably) - and how the flexibility of your foot affects your running style and the footwear you need.

This is my interpretation of it, although if anyone knows better or more, please comment, as I'm no expert!

 'Normal feet' (medium arch)
 When we take a step, the weight of the body presses down on our foot, and the centre part flexes and takes the strain.  Most people's feet have an arch underneath to flex. There should still be a bit of an arch left when the foot is pressed down.  This is called normal pronation and is a Good Thing.

'Flat feet' (low arch)
If too much of the sole of the foot is on the ground when it is pressed down, it's considered 'over pronation' and is not good, as you are more likely to injure your foot because the foot is moving too much.





'High arch'
If not enough sole is touching the ground when the body weight is over the foot, then you are an underpronator  or a 'supernator'.  The arch isn't collapsing enough and the shock is traveling up the leg, and can cause knee and ankle injuries.




You can test which type of foot you are by getting a piece of brown paper and placing it on the floor.
Fill a sponge roll tin or some pan with a little water and place your foot in it, and then make a footprint on the paper.


You can see which your feet are most like by comparing your footprint to the images above.

Here's mine below.  You can see I have very high arches because there's no wet between the heel and the toe pad place. I guess this is why I sprain my ankles so frequently.  What are your arches like?

(No, there's nothing wrong with your eyes - it's a double print because the first one was drying while I hunted for my camera)





  *The information and images came from an article from runner's world.com here

24 comments:

  1. That makes sense to me. I have very flat feet - wore special shoes as a child and was often turning my ankle. I've never actually sprained it, though - thank goodness.

    Walking on a carpet after a bath can produce good footprints too! Though maybe not such a good idea...

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  2. We need to get together and average our feet Antonia. :-)

    I recall footprints on the carpet when my young people were much younger...

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  3. Interesting stuff...I too dislike running.. but it's got more to do with laziness than feet!
    Wonderful musical accompaniment :)

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    1. Hmmm, well that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :-)

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  4. I'm going to try that out as I'm beginning to have a bit of trouble with my feet. I think my arches are falling!! Must be the increase in weight !!!

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    1. You're not the only one Helsie.

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  5. That's very interesting indeed Katherine. One of the problems is that people rarely used to question these things and just accepted them. The same goes for a lot of educational as well as physical situations. I wonder how much things have changed these days.

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    1. I suspect you're right Geeb. I think there was a good patch in the middle, and now, for other reasons, the medical and educational systems are again missing things they ought not. In NZ, at least.

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  6. Your double footprint is like a work or art - never mind the arches. You should frame it. Like you, I was never much good at running distances but used to be good in those short bursts you need on a rugby field. I shall check my arches when I can find some brown paper! I have often wondered what "flat-footed" really meant and I am guessing that I will fall into that category.

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    1. Are you taking the Mick YP? OK then, my footprint, going cheap just for you guv'. No, I thought not. You're not jumping at the chance to own a genuine De Chevalle...

      Distance running requires a lighter physique I think. Stamina rather than strength. Although I wouldn't like to challenge you to an all-day walk these days.
      Speaking of which, are you keeping your fitness going, or is it just too 'ot?

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    2. Katherine - a fifteen minute walk to and from school is okay but not enough. I walked (slowly) the mile to Tesco Lotus yesterday and then back again. I'll give you $150NZ for the foot picture but it must be the original one - not a second forged version. Hey and what are you saying about my physique? It's as light as an effing feather my dear!

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    3. Ha re. 'original'. Even if I was able to capture the original, $150 is rather underpriced for my work YP. Last one sold for $1000 NZ. So there. Unframed. *Brag*.

      Is that effing feather that you are as light as, from some very heavy Effing Bird? Possibly this one on the NZ Forest and Bird headquarters : http://www.eklektusinc.com/projects/bird_sculpture.php

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  7. I guess the music is very appropriate Katherine - Dave

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    1. Did you like the talking bit Dave? I thought there were some delightful 'headlines' they were reading.

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  8. Yup, me too. I'm an underpronator. I found this out last year and it finally explained all those years of spraining my ankles, beginning while playing hockey at school. I could never run, though I wasn't bad at hurdles, briefly. Probably because nobody else could jump, so my lack of running skills didn't matter so much!

    Seriously, there was a period of about four years, when I would sprain an ankle, it would go black and blue, and when it was nearly healed, I would sprain the other one. I did it on flat ground, uneven ground, stepping into dips on the pavement, stepping off pavements, standing still, even getting into the car, once. Probably the most scary time was walking barefoot across the hall carpet to brush my hair at the mirror and down I went. These days, like you, I wear hiking boots to walk the dogs if I'm going over the fields. So far - touch wood - I haven't sprained an ankle while wearing them!

    I was seriously worried when I had my shoulder surgery, that I would fall and injure it. The air is usually blue when I sprain an ankle because it is so incredibly painful, but if I'd done it then I think it would have gone into the ultraviolet!!

    Sorry to hear that you're a sufferer too!

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    1. Ouch. I relate Jay. I remember walking back from the sandpit to the house (10 steps) and suddenly going over with an audible loud crack in my ankle. I had to crawl in agony to the porch, then across the kitchen floor - somehow standing up to open the freezer door, frozen peas, crawl to settee, and wait for someone to come.

      I always enjoyed the green and yellow stage and the way you could even get colour down to the toes. Fun and games! I haven't had one for 12 years, but the last one was very bad and I still do daily exercises to stretch the tendon at the back of my heel, so hopefully it won't ever happen again.

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  9. ME TOO ME TOO ME TOO<><><>when i was 4 years old till i was thirteen i had to go to our shoemaker for arch supports that would raise my heel 2 inches higher<>><>i wore out the heels of my shoes just walking before any wear was noticed anywhere else on my shoe<>><<>then i would go in for a new heel 3 or four times in the life of that shoe<><>now days there are no shoemakers in america and you need to get new shoes and not just new heels<><><>well my shoes would cost 60 0r 70 dollars and if i did that now i would be paying for new shoes every month<><>so do you know what i do<><>i go barefoot all the time<><>,.18 below zero and i will walk outside to the mailbox in my barefeet< and in the summer i never wear shoes indoors or outdoors><<><>I JUST CANNOT AFFORD THEM<><>when i die i will forget what shoes ever felt like<><>><love ya THE PUTZ

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  10. OH POST SCRIPT<><><>><><<><><><>><<><><<<><><><><><><><><><><>><><<>><<><><><><><><><>><><<><><><><><><><><><><><><>THANK YOU FOR A VERY INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE BLOG<><><>I FALL ALL THE TIME, NO BALANCE AND CRAPPY FEET AND NO ONE BELIEVES ME{NOT EVEN MY DOCTOR}I HAVE SPRAINED TWO ROATOR CUFFS<><>><><>NOT SIDES OR BACK OR FRONT><<>><><>DO YOPU BELIEVE ME??????

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  11. SO SINCE I CAN'T SLEEP ON MY SIDES FROM THE ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES AND CAN'T SLEEP ON MY BACK BECAUSE OF A TRAPOLINE FALLING AND PINNING ME TO THE EARTH AND JUST RECENTLY HAD OPEN HEART SURGERY IN THE FRON/T<><> 6 BYPASSES{AND I AM NOT AT ALL KIDDING<>><>><SO DO YOU BEIEVE ME OUT THERE????????????????

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  12. I HAVE TO SLEEP ON THE TOP OF MY HEAD AND IT IS VERY HARD<><>

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    1. That must be very difficult Putz, sleeping on your head.
      Although I would hate to cast dispersions on any of your comments, but SIX bypasses? Really?

      PS. I can see your two first fingers twiddling back and forth when you <><><> do that. It's fun, isn't it? Hard to stop <><><><><><><><> 'though.

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  13. Replies
    1. Which ones are these, Robert? That when you die you'll forget that you ever wore shoes?

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  14. No, Katherine, I meant Putz's telling us that his head was very hard.

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